-- a small slice of the affected wisdom of Hazel Grace, from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.
Seemingly everybody, regardless of personal interest, occupation, social situation or general background, carries a list of books with such personal and cultural importance, resonance and transcendent ability to shape thoughts and ideas that may be dubbed as "essential". For many, such literary classics as Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Orwell's 1984 and Salinger's Catcher In the Rye are permanently engraved on this list. Perhaps, for others, Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are or Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy have mattered so much in the lives of their readers that they, too, are deemed essential. Regardless of exactly which books reside on these lists, what is truly important to highlight is how each and every one of these "essential" texts have been a transmutable participant in the journeys of the lives of countless individuals.
Which brings me to The Fault In Our Stars; John Green's sharply written, smartly balanced and, of course, essential tale centered around the "epic love story" of two teenager's suffering from the unfair, unpredictable and unrelenting human condition of dying from cancer.
For fans of Mr. Green's previous novels (Looking For Alaska, An Abundance Of Katherines and Paper Towns), the author's identifiable use of witty and pointed dialogue is utilized to great effect as he illustrates the stubborn strength in two individuals who refuse to be defined by their disease. Yet, while Hazel and Augustus are perceptively conscience of the strangeness of their lives, they sweetly cultivate and develop an intense and sagacious connection that is, altogether, distressingly endearing, deeply touching and genuinely heroic.
Stylistically, what Mr. Green surely excels at is never allowing the pulse of the narrative to get repetitive or predictable. Rather, the author is wonderful at unsettling the reader throughout at just the right moments. Just as he has in previous novels, Mr. Green utilizes a character revelation, from the perspective of the protagonist, to shift the paradigm and introduce a new sense of crisis and focus within the tightly directed narrative while still maintaining an honest sense of truth in the voice of the speaker.
Ultimately, Mr. Green possesses the enviable ability to articulate such a satiable level of understanding that unequivocally makes the journey of his stories an acutely unique experience. The Fault In Our Stars is a relentlessly engaging, humorous and affecting tale that will undoubtedly shape ideas, inspire action, influence personal conceptions and inevitably be called "essential".