It’s book club day! YA Book Club is sponsored by the lovely Tracey Neithercott at Words on Paper. This month we are discussing:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I’m not writing a book review today. The Fault in Our Stars is a beautifully crafted story. Green’s characters are full and real and heartbreaking, his long passages of dialogue flow seamlessly, and he examines the meaning of life with a feather-light touch. I love how he can move the story through time and space in a single paragraph.
But I never would have read this book on my own. I am grateful that TFIOS exists; I respect and understand how necessary it is. But I kept my distance from Hazel and Gus. I'm guilty to say I treated them like "emotional grenades," because I’d rather not lose another loved-one, fictional or not.
I am intimately acquainted with the evil that is Cancer. Cancer took my mother from me. It also took my grandmother, my uncle, and one of my young cousins. I have a close family member who is currently battling this nasty disease, and another who fights in the trenches every day as his caregiver. Reading this book stirred up epic windstorms of emotion for me, and I've only had to witness the cancer war from the outside.
I actually think it speaks to the amazingness of TFIOS that I’m writing more about my personal connection than the book itself; as teachers we strive to foster higher-order thinking by having students connect literature to their real lives. The Fault in Our Stars provides the perfect vehicle for that goal, and if any book can be an “instant classic,” TFIOS is one. I’m interested to see how many other book club members discuss how this book relates to their personal lives; I expect it will be many.
On a final note, I try to pick companion songs for each of the books I discuss here on the blog. I knew which song I would choose today before I finished reading the first chapter. The first time I heard a Jack’s Mannequin song, I felt it. Andrew pours his soul into every song he writes. I found out later that the album The Glass Passenger was written after Andrew’s own battle with cancer. Today’s song is Caves, by Jack’s Mannequin.