I have been in kind of a funk lately and felt like I needed a good cry and what do I go to, The Fault in Our Stars, of course. The first time I read this novel was during another down, transitioning phase as I was wrapping up graduate school, trying to figure out, what in the world I am doing in life. No, John Green didn’t give me the answers with Hazel and Augustus’ tragic love story, but it did put a lot of things in perspective. Enjoying life in the present, understanding one’s needs, “pain demands to be felt”, and not regretting the life that you are given no matter how short it may be.
That feeling had faded slightly until I picked it back up again a couple of days ago. Reading through, I realized how trivial the issues I was facing were in the grand scheme of things. Yes, I should accept those emotions when they come, reflect on them, and see the positives that are still in my life.
One aspect of the novel that I absolutely adore is Hazel’s fascination with Peter Van Houten’s book An Imperial Infliction. I, along with others most likely, hoped that this book existed in real life. This time, I actually read the Author’s Note which explained the fictitious work he included – whoops. Something about feeling that connected to a story, finding numerous similarities and wondering “What if” at the sudden ending makes it that much more – like it’s calling to you somehow, as you immerse yourself in the stories and the lives of the characters. I frequently have a hard time appreciating a story that does not wrap up in a nice package and a big bow – closure, you may call it. However, I believe that makes me a stronger reader and hopefully a better writer. It makes me think of the film Inception. I was quite annoyed at the ending because I wanted to know, was it all a dream? I am slowly realizing that that is not the point – the take-away is what you want it to be, whatever one’s imagination leads them to. Additionally leading to further conversations with others who have thoughts or ideas.
With all that being said, The Fault in Our Stars is a story that has numerous thoughts that circulate in a variety of situations and can spark interesting dialogue with an abundance of themes to discuss. This time, I felt more clarity, noticing other minute details that made the world of difference. My hope is not that I feel better about my own life because Hazel and Gus went through a challenging time in their young lives, but that I have a better understanding of what is in front of me, no matter how short it may be.
What books are your go-to when you are feeling a certain way?