I’ve read all of John Green’s books and even though I’ve enjoyed them, I wouldn’t call myself a fan. I certainly wasn’t planning to buy The Fault in Our Stars as soon as it came out, but someone whose opinion I respect recommended it HIGHLY to me and so I pre-ordered it on the Kindle and started reading as soon as it downloaded.
I have a few problems with John Green’s books, a couple of which are down to him and one of which is not. The one that’s not his fault is that I think he’s overrated because he’s a man. That’s not to say I don’t think he’s a wonderful writer, because I do, but it’s the age-old issue that a man writing about love is universal and important, while a woman writing about love is domestic and frivolous. And that gets my back up. (See also: One Day – if it had been written by a woman, it would totally have been dismissed as chick lit.)
The issues I have that are down to him is that his books have previously been quite samey: there’s a dorky boy, an apparently unobtainable girl – generally a Manic Pixie Dream Girl – and a wisecracking best friend. There’s probably also a roadtrip. And the teens don’t talk like teens. At all. Generally at least one, if not all, of them is rather pretentious. The fact that even the title of this latest book is pretentious did not bode well…
I deliberately read nothing about the plot of the book before buying it and I’m glad because I think if I had I probably would have avoided it. This is the Amazon summary:
So, yes, it’s about cancer. Yes, it’s incredibly sad. But it’s also sweet and funny and it really made me want to go to Amsterdam. It’s my favourite John Green book by quite a long way.