Jasmine and I first watched the movie The Fault in Our Stars. Then we listened to it on CD.
The basic story:
From IMBD "Hazel and Augustus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they meet and fall in love at a cancer support group."
Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 17-year-old with cancer, reluctantly visits a cancer support group at her mother's insistence. Her trusty portable oxygen tank goes with her. At the meeting she meets August Waters, a teen with one leg and a unique outlook on life. The two hit it off, and Hazel shares her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction with Augustus. He in turn gives her his favorite book to read--The Price of Dawn, a shoot 'em up book with a high body count.
Hazel shares that An Imperial Afflication is the only novel about cancer that describes her own life. She is frustrating that author, Peter Van Houten, ends the novel mid sentence denying the readers closure.
Since she used up the special wish granted to terminally ill children to visit Disney when she was 12, Augustus uses his wish to take himself and Hazel to Amsterdam to meet the author of An Imperial Afflication. When the meeting is less than stellar, Augustus refuses to let Hazel think she wasted his trip.
Once home, things take a turn for the worse for Augustus whose cancer has returned. And we find out, as Augusts says, "Life in not a wish granting factory."
There are a lot of differences between the movie and the book. One of the biggest ones is that in the movie, while you get to see what a miserable excuse for a human author Peter Van Houten is, in the book you find out that the main character in his book was named for his daughter who died of cancer when she was 8. The book was an attempt reconcile himself with her death.
The book gives more backstory and insight to the main characters' motivations and thoughts, but it also has much more crude language and swearing than the movie.
Because they say it better than I do, I am including some of Plugged In Online's review. It's long, but it's worth reading. You can read the whole thing HERE
My final thoughts are these: It's a good story which I would have enjoyed a lot more if there had been less crude and profane language. If there is one thing John Green excels at in his books it is telling a true to life story with an abundance of insight and crude language. I think it would have been more powerful if it had a stronger spiritual emphasis--hope of heaven. But it is not a Christian book.
I would proceed with caution when reading the book or watching the movie. I wouldn't recommend it for anyway under 13 or 14 years old.
My challenge to myself and other Christian authors is to write books that are equally insightful and engaging, but which also provide spiritual guidance and insights. We need more books that weave in faith elements without cramming it down the reader's throats. A book should have an engaging story, not a thinly disguised sermon. It should offer hope to the reader and send them on a God search. Let's build up the CBA market with books that are as widely read as The Fault in Our Stars and the others I've reviewed on this blog.
Write your best story
These are my thoughts. Feel free to add yours in the comment section.
Some of the fun of The Fault in Our Stars was Gus and Hazel's quotes. Who can forget:
Favorite quotes HERE
Read my other reviews
All the Bright Places
13 Reasons Why
The Hunger Games (Bryan Davis)