Thursday, May 30, 2013
the fault in our stars
i just finished reading "the fault in our stars" by internet superstar john green last evening, and i found it to be a difficult experience.
it was like listening to someone present an argument that you really disagree with, but being amazed at how well, or how beautifully, they stated their belief.
but in the end, i'm still sad that he believes what he believes, and that the universe for him, isn't this incredible broken gift that doesn't point towards futility and nothingness, but beauty and life, the same kind of beauty and life that he has so wonderfully written about.
(i just reread that last sentence and realized how convoluted it was. what i mean is this: i am saddened by his despair, especially when he obviously has such an eye for beauty).
it is a story of teenagers and cancer, and if you want to find out more about that part of the book, just look it up, well anywhere. it has become a huge issue online about whether this is a cancer book or not, and whether green is using the disease as a literary tool for emotional manipulation, a la nicholas sparks. and you will be likely to hear more about it, since there is a movie in the works starring several young up and coming actors, so there will certainly be all kinds of "entertainment weekly" buzz and such.
it is a terribly broken story about cancer and life and love. in some ways it feels amazingly lifelike, which is almost certainly part of the draw of the book. at other times it seems utterly fantastical, as when his teenage characters use phrases that have even the most academic adults scrambling to google. always, though, it is well-written, quirky in the best way, and emotionally powerful.
but in the end, what did it really say? without giving anything away, i will simply say that i found this story to be amazing, but the conclusions of the characters (and therefore the author) to be desperately lacking. lacking what? oh, i don't know. hope, for one thing. i've dealt with many people in terrible kinds of pain and grief, and i think there is more to the story than what green has given us here as an option. you begin to see it a bit in the compelling character of augustus waters, but it falls short. it left me, at least, with a sense of despair.
like john green, i believe the world is broken. terribly broken. his depiction of families dealing with cancer and the unbearable weight of losing their children prematurely is stunningly good. spot on. but the fault isn't only in our stars. it is in us. and the brokenness isn't the only thing. it is one thing, to be sure, but my life has a gospel to share. i have good news: we are broken...and we are loved. there is a Love beyond our love, a Life beyond our life. there is, as augustus wanted so badly to believe, a capital-S "Something."
and that changes everything. even pain, cancer, and death.