When I started reading this book, I forgot to eat.
SPOILER ALERT. OK not really, but you know this from the jacket cover. Sick girl meets sick boy, they fall in love. Hazel is Cinderella who has to lug around an oxygen cart because her lungs don’t work like lungs. She is a sixteen year old taking college classes and is addicted to television shows like America’s Next Top Model (ANTM). She always argues with her mom about her life. Hazel would spend her free time trying to set the record for the most episodes watched in a row of ANTM, while her mom tries to force her to ‘get a life.’ Which she does.
Augustus Waters is Prince Charming with one leg and a tendency to speak formally. His parents place “encouragements” (positive sayings sewn onto pillows, painted on walls, engraved in wood) around the house. Augustus has a habit of putting cigarettes into his mouth without lighting them. His point is to put the killer in his mouth, but not give it the power to kill. Augustus is like Hazel because he also has cancer, but has been NEC (no evidence of cancer) for a long time.
On page 221, I had accidentally squished an ant, and looking at that page, I found an example of how Green makes serious stuff funny. Augustus described his pain “… as a one-legged fat man wearing a stiletto heel standing on the middle of his chest.” And it’s this kind of humor in the face of death, the sarcasm and wit, that made me finish this book in a day.
Green says dying is not a side effect of cancer but that “cancer is a side affect of dying.” The book ends with a letter on how the choices people make in life affect them in profound ways. If John Green were to ask me if I think I made a good choice by reading his book, I would reply:
I do John Green.