I love John Green’s books.
Nerdfighter and not ashamed! Although, to be honest…I am an introverted Nerdfighter, in which I don’t actively participate in anything (except surveys) and while I quietly stalk all videos and links and announcements.
But I’m a nerdfighter at heart.
I decided to do a The Fault In Our Stars marathon.
How is this possible with only one movie, you ask? Well.
Step 1: Watch the TFIOS Extended Edition movie. For the first time!!
Step 2: Reread the TFIOS book. Which I bought, which is an uncommon phenomenon.
Step 3: Read This Star Won’t Go Out. Which inspired TFIOS in the first place.
I did one step each day. IT WAS A TRAUMATIC WEEK, OKAY? Maybe I should have spread it out? I was so unokay by the end.
It puts an entire different spin on TFIOS (fiction) after reading This Star Won’t Go Out (memoir).
TFIOS was full of self-deprecating jokes from Hazel, who knew she was dying, and long philosophical soliloquies from Gus, who also knew he was dying. It was about beautiful people dying. But secretly fake people.
But TSWGO? It was the real thing. Esther Earl was 12 when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer (same deal as Hazel) and she died at 16. Reading her book was an odd feeling, actually.
Esther Earl wasn’t Hazel. Not at all. Esther was like a ball of sunshine and Hazel was self-deprecating. But there was this line about “qualities of a good nurse” that was a) in TFIOS, b) written in a list by Esther Earl, and c) actually a deleted scene in the TFIOS movie!
I thought that was awesome that it was in both.
Also (just in case you were wondering) I absolutely adored the TFIOS movie.
It was perfection. It was genius. I nearly squeaked (okay, maybe I did a few times) because the movie-makers actually followed the book! They added nearly everything into the movie! There were so many lines the same. The scenes were perfection. The acting and cinematography were gorgeous. And…and…
I AM NOT OKAY.
There’s this thing you must know about me: I laugh when I’m fangirling. I laugh when I want to cry. I laugh when something is perfection.
So I literally giggled the entire movie.*
There’s something wrong with me.
* Especially during John Green’s cameo because he is a horrible actor despite being a brilliant vlogger and it just made me laugh. How fantastic would it be to have a speaking part (even if it was only 3 seconds long) in your OWN movie/book?!
Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters and Shailene Woodley as Hazel Lancaster were perfect.
(Personally I think Shailene Woodley made a better Hazel than she did Tris. But let’s not digress into that!) Ansel Elgort actually made Gus’ ridiculous lines sound genuine. NOT an easy feat. I mean, have you seen some of the monologues Gus gives in the book?! They a) do not sound like a teenager, b) are full of big words even I don’t know, c) are precociously adorable. They sounded right in the movie.
I flailed at each perfect book-to-movie quote.*
I cried a little at the end.**
I couldn’t have been happier with the movie.
* Inwardly, I mean I was watching it with my family and they probably rolled their eyes at how much I laughed anyway.
** I cry on the inside, NEVER the outside, because I am Vulcan.
So basically my feels were destroyed.
To finish up, I read the 500-pages of the memoir: This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl.
Why? Why did I go ahead with ALL OF THEM IN A ROW? My life was not a roller-coaster that only went up, my friend. It went down. Rapidly.
I didn’t like This Star Won’t Go Out very much (you can see my full review here on Goodreads) and I feel awfully guilty for admitting it because it’s a memoir! One cannot dislike memoirs, right?! But I thought the book didn’t get a very complete picture. All the narrators (Esther’s journal entries, and blog posts and letters by her parents) felt unreliable. Like they weren’t ever giving the full picture.
The story was very wrapped up in “thank God it’s not worse!” Which is a brilliant attitude, of course. But I felt everyone just listed what was happening in a platonic way, so when something really BAD happened — I didn’t know if it was life-threatening or not. Obviously Esther was terminal from the diagnosis. But then, suddenly, she dies. She must have been degenerating, but her parents couldn’t (?!) write about that. They just wrote “Praise God it’s not worse” and then she was dead without any medical warning at all. At times I felt the book wasn’t even about Esther.
Frustrated? That would be me.
Her parents were lovely people and hugely supportive, but there were several scenarios that made me cringe. Like:
– At one point when Esther was early on in her diagnosis of having thyroid cancer, she’s going through an airport and carrying like 3 bags and she’s so tired and not feeling well. So she just stops and starts crying. Her father comes back and practically yells at her for being whiny. (I’m not even joking.)
|John Green and Esther Earl|
– Frequently, when Esther needed to cry, she had to go sob in the bathroom. ALONE. I felt like her parents spent so much time saying, “It could’ve been worse!” so that it wasn’t acceptable to grieve/cry about the cancer she did have. (It felt like they were petrified of doubting God. Which isn’t right because even Jesus cried before his death. CRYING IS OKAY!)
– Her parents said (several times) in the book that Esther didn’t “do enough”. The girl sleeps 12-16 hours a day, has terminal cancer, is constantly in pain and tired…but she doesn’t do enough?!
Don’t get me wrong! It is a book about a girl’s beautiful life despite terminal illness!
Esther is totally someone you’d look up to, because she was so happy and vibrant even when dying. I MEAN: COME ON! Who can still smile and thank God for their friends/family/life when they’re dying?! She was such a sweet girl. And the book was full of pictures and her drawings and it was a very special memoir of her life.
I watched a few of her vlogs. But I was feeling too sad about the whole thing so I abandoned my TFIOS marathon.
I think TFIOS is a beautiful story and I’ll always love it.
But for the sake of my sanity and sadness…I will not be rereading it any time soon.
DFTBA, blogglings. Really. Don’t forget to be awesome. One of the things I love most about vlogbrothers, nerdfighters, and all the books is that they assume that all humans are intelligent, special, and beautiful souls who deserve to be awesome and to give awesome.