An Open Letter to John Green

Before I begin, I’d like to express that I’ll be back to do normal posts very soon. This is a fluke….or is it? You decide. Until next time, friends.

Dear John Green,

I hope you had a pleasant and chocolate filled Easter! I’m currently looking at my Easter basket and am eyeing the chocolate duck. I’ve eaten it’s head so far (sorry duck) but all I’m thinking is, “damn, I want to eat the rest.” And honestly, I’m so torn apart right now that I just might.

Why am I so unhappy, you may ask? Because I just finished reading your critically acclaimed The Fault In Our Stars about thirty minutes ago. Normally I would turn this post into a Book vs Movie post, but I genuinely think it might deserve two posts – one letter to you and one book vs movie – just simply based on the fact that my little aching heart can’t watch the movie yet. I need time to process. To heal.

But I will give you my book review. So I’ll go ahead and give you my rating: 5 stars. No, 15 stars. This was the fault in our stars you were speaking of, Green: the fault in our star rating system because there’s no star high enough to accurately assess this novel. Wonderful.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time, but based simply on the fact that everyone was reading the book, and everyone was loving the movie, I didn’t read it or see the movie. I didn’t want to be peer pressured into reading a book by some dude I didn’t know when I could be reading a book by Amy Tan. That was until I read Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle and yourself. I loved it. I loved it so much, and I loved your part of the story so much, that TFIOS quickly moved up my “to-read” list.

Having promised myself that I wouldn’t keep reading science fiction and fantasy novels exclusively, I decided it was time to read the book. You start the novel with a bang – cancer. You have this writing style that is so conversational, but at the same time you feel like you’re getting smarter just reading it. It’s so intelligent, and you use that intelligence to perfectly express exactly what the character is feeling in a way that a real person would feel. I can’t get over the magic of this novel.

Side note to my blog family: In case you don’t know what the premise of the novel is about, here’s a brief back cover summary: A cancer ridden Hazel is depressed and stays at her house all day watching reality TV shows. Her mom then sends her to make some friends at a cancer support group in their local church. She meets a cancer survivor named Augustus, and she starts thinking differently.

As a sarcastic and introverted person who absolutely loves reality TV (don’t judge me) I absolutely loved Hazel. I thought she was a brilliant character with a beautiful heart, and realistic expectations – and maybe a defeatist attitude. Augustus, the everlasting love interest, was portrayed as this funny, optimistic, romantic teenage boy who just wanted the girl to love him, but was really so much more than that.

And that is why I’m writing this open letter to you. As a habitual reader – clean and sober 30 minutes – I usually get way too invested in my books. They’re the great love of my life (along with my boyfriend – Hi, Anthony!) so I often put my whole mind and soul into a book – I become defenseless to these characters and allow the author to toy with my emotions for several hundred pages. There is usually an expectation, though. That, yes, I allow the author to invade my psyche with the understanding that at the end of the book I may be sad, but I won’t feel devastated.

You have crossed that boundary, sir. It has happened before, but I’m putting this on the top five list. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not necessarily that the ending was an all consuming devastation of a single event, but rather that the entire novel was devastating. It was one thing after another, and even with a fairly happy ending, you still know that more goes on when the book is finished. Much like Hazel and her obsession with Peter van Houten’s novel in the book, I just want to know what happens when the book is over. It’s only now that I realize how much of a written genius you are to have the presence of mind to create a book so devastating but so familiar and friendly, only to have it end the way you ended it, much like van Houten’s book.

Well, I feel as though I’ve berated you enough, good sir. I would like to say some kind words before we part: I absolutely LOVED this book. I truly felt connected to it in a way that I haven’t felt with another book in a while. So I want to congratulate you on creating a masterpiece, and for possibly becoming my next favorite author.

I almost wrote “I love you, Bye” before I realized that’s not how you end a letter. So until next time, okay? I love you, bye.

Rachel

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