I recently found out that I am the only human male ever to have read John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars." Other than John, himself.
I picked the book up after it circulated through the hands of my coworkers (80% of whom lack a Y chromosome). As they each oohed and aahed over this seeming literary masterpiece, I felt compelled to take a stab at it. As I tucked the book into my bag to take home, they started waging bets on which page or part of the book would cause me to break down into a bucket of tears.
Well, now I've read it. And let me be perfectly clear: no tears. The book left me, well, wanting. So, rather than add to the glowing reviews of this #1 New York Times Best Selling book and point out its strong-suits, I thought I'd just take a moment to highlight what I believe to be the Faults in "The Fault in Our Stars."
Augustus "Gus" Waters. Thirty pages in, I nearly dropped the book and stopped reading just to get this guy out of my life. Yes - he changes a bit as the novel progresses, but he's downright deplorable from the get-go. He lacks any measure of humility and offers himself as God's Gift to Young Girls With Cancer as he sits right there in the Literal Heart of Jesus. Cool your jets, Gus.
Plotless. Nothing happens. Nothing at all. This book should be called, "Cancer-stricken teens try to fall in love while [SPOILER ALERT] dying." That's really all there is to it - the end.
Predictable. Was anyone surprised anywhere, at any point, during any scene, on any page while reading this book? Didn't think so. I think this was the biggest disappointment to me. I love it when a book's plot twists and leaves me astonished, wondering how the author slipped it all by me. That's entertainment - a story that transcends your expectations and stretches your reasoning skills as you seek to get a step ahead of the author and figure out what they've actually got planned. The trouble with TFIOS is that there are no twists at all - the book is 100% predictable. I just expected more from it.
Holland was a bust. I had high hopes when Gus gave Hazel his wish and planned to take her to meet her role model and life-guru Peter van Houten. There was a lot of potential with this plot line! Two star-crossed lovers defy all odds in a trip around the world with new adventures and thrilling experiences! Take that, cancer! Instead, the whole trip was a total bust; van Houten was a cranky old drunk and the whole trip just reeked of sadness and missed opportunities. This is probably about where Green lost me.
Making out in a Holocaust Museum. Classy move, right? I found this scene to be very unbelievable and even disrespectful. Two teenagers start making out in the midst of a memorial to Anne Frank and everyone cheers. Yes - that's exactly how it works in real life.
Peter van Houten. This guy is a creep. In any other situation, a grown man popping up in the backseat of a teenage girl's van would end up on Dateline's "To Catch a Predator." I know you feel me.