I hope you’re loving John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars as much as I am. I have to confess that I’ve read just a little bit ahead (I couldn’t help it!) but as promised, our book club questions today will lead up through the end of Chapter 12. I know many of you have finished this book and seen the movie already, so please be polite and refrain from spoiling the story! Here we go…
- What makes Hazel so different from other teenagers?
- What role does cancer play in the novel? How are the characters’ concerns different from those of healthy teenagers as a result of their cancers?
- How does Hazel’s relationships with Augustus defy traditional gender roles?
- How do you feel about Gus’ cigarettes?
- Why do you think John Green chose to have Hazel’s meeting with Van Houten go the way it did?
- What struck me most about Hazel is that she is really a selfless person. Throughout the story she was concerned about the people around her and not herself which is a rare trait in anyone—teenager or not. I also liked that this maturity and wisdom was also contrasted with her normal teenage behaviors.
- Cancer gives the plot a sense of immediacy, and also brings heavy-hitting topics—like death, the meaning of life and love—to the forefront of the conversation. I thought it was interesting that many of their concerns remained the same as healthy teenagers.
- I think the fact that we still have perceived “gender roles” is disappointing. I did thoroughly enjoy the fact that Hazel is portrayed as a strong, confident, take-no-prisoners kind of girl. The fact that Augustus is the sappier, more romantic half of the couple is a nice change of pace because I think men should feel free to be sensitive all the time. I wish this romantic dynamic were the literary (and real life) norm, and not an anomaly.
- The cigarette has a strong undercurrent of “screw cancer.” But I think more than anything, it shows how willing Gus is to stick to his convictions, whether they’re correct or not. In a world where so much is out of his control, I like how Gus takes a tiny bit of power back by “never lighting the thing that kills you”.
- I think this serves as a reminder that romantic fantasy and reality are two very different things. It was painful to see Hazel (the ultimate level-headed realist) be robbed of her only fantastical dream. I did not want the scene to go the way it did, but that was probably the point.
Now it’s your turn…
What are your answers to the questions above?
Leave your responses below and read to the end of the book by November 12th, which is when I will announce the date of my live chat!