I don’t remember on whose recommendation I ordered this book. But whoever (if a person) or whatever (a website/ newspaper/ blog) it was, I thank them for this lovely suggestion. This 313 page story by John Green has all possible emotions one can think of – love, pain, humour, empathy, sympathy, anger, tragedy, helplessness and what not.
<Spoiler Alert – The review below gives the plot away>
The book is about Hazel Grace, a terminal cancer patient on an experimental drug who doesn’t know for how long would she be around, and about Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor in the sense that he has had no evidence of cancer detected in a long time after his treatment, yet.
They meet at a support group that neither of them seem too inclined to attend and bond over a fiction book to which both of them can relate. What follows is beautiful romance between the young couple joined together not by a disease but inspite of it. Their conversations seem so real and touching, their reactions so very natural. It is impossible not to root for their beautiful love story and wish with all your heart for a happy ending. But that is not what the author has in mind. When Hazel has been trying to avoid being a ‘Grenade’ which can explode anytime and leave all around her who care and love her hurt, it is Augustus who turns into one but not before fulfilling Hazel’s wish of wanting to meet the author of her favourite book on a foreign land on a trip which leads to the discovery of their love for each other. And I for one could never have thought such a beautiful story being told against such a background, of ‘eulogies’ like ‘love letters’ and of ‘okays’ as ‘always’.
The emotions portrayed in the book have a quality about them, of demanding to be felt, much like the pain that the protagonists talk about in the book. You can almost sense the worry of the parents, their wanting their child to have a normal life, the hesitation of the patients to get too involved with friends and family, the pain on being diagnosed, the excitement of a dream coming true and the helplessness and futility of the disease that takes all away.
There are some beautiful one liners in the book, and some poignant quotations, which remain with the reader for a long time even after the chapter has been finished, so to speak.