Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
The Fault in Our Stars: John Green, February 18—22, 2016
My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊
The fault is not in our stars. It’s with John Green, for writing such a dull book.
Boy meets girl, girl is dying of cancer. From there on in, it’s mostly predicable.
The ‘sick-lit’ cancer storyline is very much window dressing. Not much of Hazel or her friends’ battles with their respective illnesses is actually played out. Instead, it’s a mere device to batter their personalities into a convenient shape and throw some coincidences together.
The will-they/will-they inevitability the genre forces on us gives very little room for tension or ambiguity. Granted, Gus is a charming fellow and whatnot, but in what exactly is the reader to invest? These characters, who have nothing about them except cancer and each other (despite the never ending we-are-not-just-cancer-kids rhetoric)? Or the storyline, the ending of which you can pretty much presume from the opening page?
Or is it An Imperial Affliction, Hazel’s favourite book? The book, invented by Green for the purposes of Stars, which sounds so much better than the one he actually wrote (awkward). It does offer up some interesting reflection points, but Hazel and Gus’s persual of the reclusive author descends from the sublime to the bizarre. By the novel’s end, it’s so ridiculous and improbable, it almost seems to satirise what I think was supposed to be a serious story.
Green seems to have all the components to add to a good story to make it very enjoyable, but without a story for them to be attached to, it’s simply a collection of bits that don’t add up to much of anything. The most oft-repeated word in the book is apt: Okay.