Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars

As part of "me" time, I decided to do a little reading for fun. I took the plunge and dug in to The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I liked it, liked it a lot. 
It was a sad story and resulted in a lot of tears. My 6 year old commented, "Oh Mom must be on a sad part, she is crying." 
My son recognized recently that I like sad movies and sad books. I do like a great movie/book that makes me cry. I sometimes empathize with the story in weird ways though, so what makes me tear up might not make everyone else tear up. 
I doubt that this is not a tearjerker for everyone, doesn't dying and cancer make everyone cry? I cried a lot at the end of the book, won't spoil it and tell you why. I did get to a part in which the tears continued to roll as I turned the pages. And the river did not stop quickly, I was like the father with a constantly wet chin!
Evidence of my tears, not a 1 tissue book.
It was also inspiring in some ways. Made me think about legacies and what families sacrifice for each other. Parts made me think about my mom and how she pushed to help us find happiness while we were growing. Other parts made me think about people dealing with lifelong illnesses and how it can take center stage even though they may not want it to.  
Any book loaded with metaphors, sarcasm, creative language, and a few laugh-out-loud moments will win me over.
The Fault In Our Stars was a quick read for me, my son was impressed I was already finished with it this morning. 
There were parts that I think are predictable. I loved that I was able to correctly predict events and character motivations.

When I find a great book that I love, I will consider reading it with or to my students. Well, not this book. This book will not be in my class library either. In my honest opinion, the topics and some events are too mature for the general 5th grader. 
Some of my students were reading this in May. Several told me they loved it and I should read it. One told me she was reading it because her mom always makes her read a book before she sees the movie. I liked her mom's point, but am not sure this book/movie was right for this young lady. 
I don't know, maybe I am old-fashioned, or a prude, but I really felt that this book was intended for a more mature audience. Here is why...

  • Mentioning multiple times of ballless guy who survived testicular cancer.
  • Sexual innuendos 
  • Sex 
  • Life and death 
  • Metaphor of smoking (wouldn't want to see my 5th graders cradling cigarettes because the book presented it as cool, even if they did not light them)
  • Alcoholism
  • Language (cursing and vocabulary)
  • Philosophical
The more I thought about the book, the more I thought that the deeper meaning would be missed on a young student. They would not grasp the deeper meaning and relationships amongst the characters. I blushed at the idea of my students reading the chapters in Amsterdam. As a 5th grader, I would not have been able to fully understand the events. 
Now, there are always exceptions to anything, and there are probably some mature readers who might be able to handle the contents and make the philosophical connections, but honestly I doubt most would.
The book is about choices made by 16, 17, and 18 year-olds, not decisions made by 10, 11, and 12 year-olds, so why not save the book for those who can really relate? 
Another thing I liked about the book was the connection of a reader to an author and wanting to know more or what happened to the characters after the book was over. I have read many books like that, and have wanted to just sit and talk with them about their take on life. Perhaps that is why I really related to Hazel and her obsession to finding the answers from Peter Van Houten. I would have wanted the same answers, based on what I read from that book!
So, have you read this book? What did you think? If you haven't read it, are you planning on reading it? 
I kept my post very vague, in case you haven't read it yet, but would love to hear your thoughts about the story. 
What's next on my list? Because of Mr. Terupt. A few reviews compared it to Wonder, an absolute favorite, and I am hoping it will be a book I can read to my students! We'll see.


  1. I haven't read it yet, but I do want to. Surprisingly, I didn't have any students read this. Now that you've mentioned some of the content, I'm glad they didn't. I felt the same way about the Divergent series. I didn't think my kids were ready for that series yet. Thanks for the heads up! xo
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. Oh definitely agree about the Divergent Series, and even the Hunger Games. It concerns me about being so casual with some topics and letting everything seem so simple.
      Alison, this book is going to make you cry. Might be a good way to get some of those tears out of you, or something to wait upon, not sure which way you prefer, but not a plane to read on the flight out to your parents!

  2. I completely agree with your review of The Fault in our Stars. I read it and enjoyed it, but it's definitely not right for middle-schoolers!

    1. Thanks Crystal, glad I am not alone in my thoughts about the book. Do you think you will go to see the movie?


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