Saturday, January 11, 2014

Reader Response: The Fault in Our Stars Pt. 3

This is a continuation of a reader response exercise for John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, done as an assignment for my Teen Materials class in Library Science grad school.

** spoilers everywhere **

Chapter Five

Now I wish I had mentioned another thought that crossed my mind when it turned out Hazel's favorite book was fictional: that it was fictional so the author could be a character. That's what happens in this chapter, along with Augustus showing his affection with very considerate action instead of, you know, saying much of anything explicitly in that direction.

Van Houten is an entirely insufferable fictional author. Seriously questioning Hazel's taste in everything. But she is a kind person, so there's that.

Chapter Six

Hazel has a father around? Maybe he was mentioned before, but it's always been about Hazel and her mom.

I liked the contrast, "It all felt Romantic, but not romantic." Hazel is well read enough to know about the history of the notion of romance and how it used to be a very artificial, courtly thing that might have had more to do with repressing sexuality than putting it into a caring context. Or, I am anyway, hah.

Hazel overthinks things. A lot. Probably realistic for teen readers.

Laughing out loud at social butterfly Kaitlyn's identification of Augustus, and sexual metaphor.

Found it interesting that with all of the brand name clothing and technology mentions that the word "Facebook" is flagrantly skirted around. Maybe the declining hipness of Facebook among the younger set played into that decision (the kids are all Tumblring and Chatsnapping or something right? *waves cane*). After all, we can imagine another site that has carried over the same functions and terminology.

The grenade analogy is a good analogy. The texting conversations strike me as pretty darn genuine representations of such things go.

I'm pretty sure John Green's big message to readers about how to deal with sick people is: don't treat them like they're fragile. The ones who genuinely care about sick people as individual people aren't afraid to give them individually-crafted crap along with the kindness.

Chapter Seven

It's not spelled "Alison."

I like this Alison character's wit, even if her name is spelled wrong in my world.

Oh. The title of this book comes from Shakespeare. I remember a bunch of natural evil imagery from that play, but not that bit. Wasn't one of the plays I was in myself or one that I watched obsessively *cough Much Ado cough*. Shameful anyway.

These Van Houten letters are an ordeal to read. What did I do to deserve such suffering?

Chapter Eight

Now that I'm noticing Hazel's dad in scenes, I'm noticing him crying all the time. Ug.

The adults in this story aren't being a roadblock to the travel idea, even though it raises risks. That would have been an easy way to throw more conflict into the story, but I'm grateful John Green is sparing me that annoyance. Already had enough annoyances in the last few pages.

Then I read the next paragraph. Dammit.

Hazel has mentioned feeling like her phone/text/email conversations with Augustus are taking place in a "third space" outside of the usual world. This reminds me the concept of a "third place," which is a place to socialize and relax outside of the work and the home. From another intolerable author, by the way. This isn't quite the way Hazel is using it, but getting outside of her usual spaces and finding some comfort there does fit, sort of.

Somehow John Green managed to include a pedophilia joke in a bestselling novel and not be stoned for it. Maybe context is everything.

"As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."

Hazel is going to be staying at a hotel called "the Filosoof"? Well, that's apt enough. Also real.

"If I could just stay alive for a week" is a great way to start a paragraph, and end a chapter.

Chapter Nine

Only thing of note here was the voice-response, audio-rich interactive fiction version of the Mayhem video game. I'm pretty sure that's still sci-fi at this point, unfortunately.

Chapter Ten

The scrambled eggs as breakfast food discussion made me think of gender essentialism. Probably not what John Green intended in this context, so I stopped to think about why he had Hazel bring it up. Not totally happy with this analysis, but: Hazel is tired of being thought of as being essentially a Person with Cancer who, even when she's doing things like international trips, is just a Person with Cancer Globetrotting. She resents cancer being made an essential part of her identity.

"The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives." In case you wanted another quotable.

I was very apprehensive about Hazel going through the metal detector without her oxygen. What if the agents let her through, then were slow about the tank and her mom had to murder someone right then and there to get the oxygen to her? It worked out ok.

The confession of love didn't do much for me, considering how obvious it's been for so many chapters. I did note the Cymbeline reference and don't quite believe Augustus has read that. Probably was relayed through the awful book they both keep reading.

My Kindle app on my Nook tablet informs me that I'm at the 50% point.

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