Wednesday, July 17, 2013

GRAB(ook) Club: The Fault In Our Stars

I read this book several months ago, and didn't get a chance to reread it.  But I loved the book - it made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.  It has made me a huge fan of John Green - I think I've read all of his books now.  Some are good, some are great.  This is my favorite, because the emotions he evokes seem so accurate to me.

So, a question:  What do you think about the roles (or lack thereof) of the parents in this book?

I've lived with someone who was dying.  My father had rheumatoid arthritis and the circulation in his legs gradually faded because of it.  He developed a sore that wouldn't heal, which became a gaping hole in his leg.  I didn't know what would become of that, but I knew it was not going to get better.  But still the doctors threw seaweed wraps on it and tried skin grafts and sent physical and occupational therapists - because they didn't know what else to do and they couldn't do nothing.  And so I could identify with the parents lack of real presence in this book...because there was little that I could do for my dad but sit back and watch.  To pretend that things were as normal as possible, so he didn't have to feel like I was responsible for his care, when it was still his job to watch over me (I was 22 when he died).

I believe that John Green minimized the parents as characters because it was a realistic way to portray them.  I believe that parents would have to go on with their daily lives, that they would attempt to let their children live their lives to the fullest, knowing that they wouldn't get as long a time to do so as most people.  He captured their sorrow and their frustration, but made them into great parents who knew that it wasn't about them, even though the cancer was happening to them too.

Do you think expanding the roles of the parents would have made the book better/worse/the same?

FYI, in case you cared, my preference for the rest of John Green's books are as follows:  Will Grayson Will Grayson, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines.  And he's pretty entertaining on Mental Floss.

After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for The Fault in Our Stars.  You can get your own copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green at bookstores including Amazon.