I read The Fault in Our Stars a little over a year ago, and quite literally from the first page — I was in awe. “Made up stories can matter…”
I’m always leery of novel adaptations – especially ones for the smaller, more intimate books I’ve loved so well. But this one was absolutely wonderful. (Perks of Being a Wallflower nailed the novel-to-film adaptation too, brilliantly so.)
And so, Hazel Grace Lancaster will always be living among the pages of a book and in the frames of a film… and we will love her for it.
And there will be Augustus Waters, fighting for Hazel, encouraging her, loving her.
I think my favorite part of this book and this story is how deftly the deep emotions of life — not just love, but loss, anger, frustration, joy, and even boredom — are dealt with. Augustus and Hazel are wildly imperfect, facing the unimaginable truth of I will not make it to my 20th birthday. They’re angry and scared, and it makes them lash out unexpectedly. These aren’t the preternaturally wise, overly effusive Wise Cancer Kids that we’ve come to expect from our Literature of the Sick Children. (Augustus occasionally gets close to it — until you realize he’s trying to sound wise and important and he’s not actually all that awesome at it.)
Hazel and Augustus’ existence is not predicated on teaching everyone around them: Carpe Diem! They watch movies and egg someone’s car and laugh at Patrick, their support group leader. They’re funny and occasionally wise. They wonder about their families, and how they will handle a post-cancer kid life. I wonder what my parents will do after I’m dead. It’s a fact of life, not a strangely speculative question that will never actually have to be answered.
I wonder what happens after I’m dead.
We all get one life to piece together — filled with 24-hour days and 7-days-a-week. You go to school, learn how to ride a bike, grow up, finish school, fall in love, find a career, have a baby (and very rarely in that actual order). You create Your Life. And the whispers in the air will tell you that unless you’ve got thirty thousand followers on Twitter or a hit movie or your name in the company’s letterhead… well, you haven’t really made it. And so we fight and scream. We cry because we’re afraid:
What if none of this matters?
We stand in front of the great void, screaming at the top of our lungs, praying we making a difference while actually wondering deep down in our souls if we are the only ones listening to our voices — like maybe the wind is echoing too loudly and sweeping our own words back across our faces.
There will be many of us out there who make an enormous difference in the world. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world right now that I’m surrounded by people who get out there and DO the things that most of us will never get a chance to do. I have friends who are CEOs of their own companies, showrunners and writers, lawyers, editors, directors, musicians, teachers. They go ahead where few will dare to follow. The world around us is changing — and we’re trying to create Our Life in a way that matters. But the echoes of screams and the adoration of the masses won’t be the things that will pull you through into tomorrow.
The most impactful moments of my life have come unexpectedly — in the small moments of dinner with friends or picking up the phone at 4 in the morning, standing together in front of that great void, finally realizing that we are not alone in this… that it is better to be loved deeply by one than adored from afar by millions of strangers.
I’m here for you. Just you. Okay?
You are enough.
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