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  • Writer's pictureFrancesca Rayo

Uncovering The Fault In Our Stars

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

The hidden truth wrapped around in a novel

The novel “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green has received a lot of love since its publication date, on January 10th, 2010. It’s been 12 years since its release and not only has the novel reached a huge global fan base, but the film has been a huge success in the deceased romantic films field and has made thousands of teens cry over Hazel and Augustus’ devastating love story (including myself).

“The Fault In Our Stars” physical novel cover. Picture from my own book taken by me.

The truth is, I’d been wanting to watch the movie for a long time now; it had resided on my to-watch list for nearly a year. About two to three weeks ago, I decided that it was finally time to watch it. It would be the least to say that I re-watched the movie two more times and read the book in less than a week. The movie (and novel) talk about two teenagers, Hazel who has lung cancer, and Augustus who is an osteosarcoma cancer survivor. They meet in a support group that they call “the literal heart of Jesus,” Augustus only accompanying Isaac, his friend with eye cancer. They meet unexpectedly in those typical “love at first sight” crashes when the boy, star-struck, accidentally hits the door being too busy watching the lovely girl. He invites her over to his house to watch an action movie, and she tells him about her favorite novel. Together they embark on a journey to go find this mysterious novel writer, Peter Van Houten.

Hazel and Augustus’ meeting scene in the movie “The Fault In Our Stars.” Picture from

The story starts with Hazel saying how rough life with cancer is and that she's not up to “romanticizing” her life with cancer. She says that she wants the story to be truthful, filled with the struggles and hardships of living a life with cancer. Throughout the novel, she narrates the common things that most any cancer kid would go through; cancer perks, medical check-ups, stares, “lungs sucking at being lungs” and many more, trying to not glamorize cancer but make it look more human. As John Green said, he didn't want to write a romanticized story about a healthy kid who falls in love with a cancer kid, putting them on a pedestal to the point of dehumanizing them.

As we can see in the story, Hazel has somewhat of a fatalistic but realistic view of life, especially her own, due to all the circumstances she’s been through. Augustus, on the other hand, is very optimistic and full of hope. Augustus wants to be a hero, to leave a mark on the world, he doesn't want cancer to define him. He felt somewhat unfulfilled when his death was near; he wanted to change lives but life would be taken away from him before he got to do it. Hazel reminds him that all he needs is what he already has: he has people who love him unconditionally, so he doesn't need the entire world to remember him. Hazel is very deep and passionate; she demonstrates that she is way more than just her disease. However, despite how much they love each other, they find out they're not perfect; they have flaws as well as anybody else, and that's what makes them more lovable and human.

Regardless of my enormous love for the novel and its plot, I feel like the movie wasn't truthful to the novel in its entirety. The movie does follow the sequence of events the novel lays out. It also shows the rawness of having cancer and what it is to deal with it, emphasizing deeply what each person is feeling. It made me feel better about feeling human. Many novels tend to leave the reality part out and glamorize a perfectly normal life, which often tends to make its readers feel less validated.

However, it didn't capture many extremely valuable moments of desperation. It may have romanticized the story a lot more than it was in the novel. Also, in the movie, after meeting Augustus Hazel doesn't have any more scenes alone; it's like her life completely changed when she met Augustus, and although he did change her life a lot, he was not the owner of her life. I would’ve liked more screen time of Hazel alone as well as Augustus alone after meeting each other.

“The Fault In Our Stars” movie banner. Picture from What's On Disney Plus.

“Peter Van Houten was the only person I’d ever come across who seemed to (a) understand what it's like to be dying, and (b) not have died”

Many people have related to the book, not only hopeless romantics but people who have similar diseases, especially cancer. Allison Cisz, a now 20-year-old girl, studying at Central Connecticut State University, was diagnosed with brain cancer her senior year of high school. She said that none of her friends understood how she felt and what it was like taking cancer treatments and the side effects it causes on people. She says that they'd usually ask why she was acting or walking a certain way and would question her often, not knowing what the treatments could do to her. She says that the movie was very accurate to how cancer kids feel, especially in high school, but also the way they move and do certain things like even breathing. “They need more of an education about it,” said Cisz, referring to the novel, to teach people what cancer truly is like. You can find more information about her experience with the movie here.

A quote from the “Fault In Our Stars” novel from the physical book relates to Cisz’s statement. Picture was taken by me.

I loved the book because the beauty of it being so raw but at the same time so hopeful made me have a different perspective on life itself. It's not a book based solely on a perfect love story, but instead, it focuses on the reality of life and that the smallest things are the most important part of our lives, we don't need an entire world to remember us, just by being grateful for the ones you have around is more than enough. I recommend this book to anyone because it honestly changed my perspective in many ways and led me to understand many things I didn't understand before.

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