I finished reading THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, by John Green. This is a best-seller about two terminally ill teenagers who are in love. Green has attempted to capture the true essence of two youngsters whose lives are eroding. He confesses that it has taken him some years and several tries to get it right, meaning not presenting the oft-exaggerated and maligned images healthy adults usually conjure up about dying kids. It is a good story and the book deserves the attention it is getting. It is, however, the kind of literature that leaves me feeling downright stupid. I hate when this happens.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS was a difficult book for me to enjoy. You may find “enjoy” an inappropriate word to describe a story about two dying kids, but this particular book was written to be enjoyed…enjoyed for its humor and sensitivity, along with its expression of true love. There was, perhaps, a lot more meaningful reward to be extracted from reading the book, but not by me. My intellectual capacity took a hit.
Often, when faced with serious, intellectually stimulating material, one is inclined to display a “hmm, yes, I see!” response rather than appear stymied. I used to be like that. I didn’t like to admit I was dumb. I remember my reaction after seeing the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of course I understood the meaning of the obelisk, didn’t you? Truth be told, I had no idea what the hell it meant. It was this big rock that shot up out of the ground while synced up with what became an iconic piece of music. I told people I got it…but my real self was muttering WTF! I don’t disguise myself anymore. I am at the age where I don’t care if folks think I’m stupid because I don’t understand Shakespeare (and I never have) or a piece of art makes no sense to me…or a book spews off enough esoteric rhetoric that it soars at lightning speed way off the top of my head. Today I simply admit I don’t get it.
There is a lot in THE FAULT IN OUR STARS that I don’t get. There is too much symbolism and too much “deep thoughts” that whiz by me leaving a numbing disconnect. Many times I had to stop, go back and re-read a paragraph because I could not understand what was being said. After reading it a second time, I still did not understand what was being said. It is annoying as hell because the story is good and the characters are wonderful…but I don’t understand half of what they are saying. No doubt it will become a much discussed “reading group” kind of book and teachers will have their students writing essays about it.
Crap, I wish I were smarter. Crap, I hate wishing I wish I were smarter…makes me feel inadequate. And, sadly, that is what this book has done. So, I am reduced to deciding what to decide about this book—is it the fault of the book that I have missed so much of what it has to offer? …or is it the fault in my stars?
Need I remind you that it is still May and May is International Green Month (see May 5th Blog)
Note the name of the author of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS …Love it when a plan comes together!
Books by Marc Kuhn: THE POPE’S STONE, an historical novel that follows two descendants of a Virginia family who, despite living a century apart, share uncanny similarities in their lives; NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE, a collection of whimsical verse featuring thought-provoking “never-do’s” that children should beware of; and ABOUT A FARM, a children’s book about challenges we all face every day, regardless of where we live. All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title.
Intimate details about Marc Kuhn and other exhilarating stuff at marckuhn.com
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