I Read: The Fault in Our Stars.
I’ve been trying to read several other books of more… literary… value for a while now and just totally burning out. I forget the process by which I found this one, but it had to do with the Kindle “recommended for you” store and a vague memory of a blog entry on Sometimes Sweet and lo, here we are.
I’m not one for romance. Or teenagers. Or teenage romance. Oh Gourd how I hated being a teenager, I have no great affinity for reading about them and reliving the whole gruesome coming of age experience all over again. Thinking about the emotional turmoil of my own high school years makes me break out in emotional hives. As you might guess, I’m not a big afficionado of YA lit as a genre, though I have enjoyed books with teenage characters that aren’t necessarily about the teenage experience.
So when I say that this book is not my usual cup of tea is kind of an understatement. And to say I devoured it is no understatement either. I finished this book in a mere fifteen hours, eight of which were spent asleep and bear in mind, I have a toddler. (I’m also an exceptionally fast reader.) I’ll confess that I put him down for a second nap this afternoon so I could finish reading. I haven’t done that with a book in… eons.
Perhaps it helps that the main characters will never see adulthood. This isn’t a spoiler, but is indeed the whole premise of the book. A romance between teenagers with cancer. It’s not as fraught as it sounds. I’m not big on fraught either. Fraught makes me roll my eyes to the point where sometimes they get stuck and I have to go to my happy place to get them back out again.
But I do often read about death. And mortality. And that’s where this book hooked me in. I could see the ending from page one, but the journey was from the beginning more interesting to me than the plot. And really – with this on the first page? Like candy for death junkies:
Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is really.)
The insights on death and living are even more profound than the insights on Young Luv. Which are only occasionally nauseating. Ok, fine, they’re totally nauseating. But in the nicest possible way.
My only complaint is that the plot is too neat. I have issues with a lot of cheesy sitcoms for inhabiting worlds in which characters behave conveniently and that happens oh, ALL THE TIME in this book. Way too convenient and scripted – which isn’t to say one-dimensional, but there are very few truly unpredictable moments and several moments where the willful suspension of disbelief and THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN LIFE DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT caused my jaw to clench.
Still. Amazing book for an “easy” (if not exactly easy) read.
(PS: I didn’t cry, I’m kind of a heartless bastard.)
He Reads: Roadwork
P is really into “reading” books himself – very, very rarely is it that he wants me to actually read a book TO him. Mostly if I try, he takes the book out of my hands and throws a fit. Well ok then. He’s an independent man. This is one of the few these days that he’ll deign to let me read aloud – mostly because it combines two of his favorite things: wheels and sound effects. Really the book could be titled “Wheels and Sound Effects” and it would be just as accurate.