I will warn you now. This post has nothing to do with running, health, fitness, or other shenanigans. I recently finished reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The minute I finished the last page I drafted a letter. I’ve held onto it for a week because I wanted to keep it to myself for a little longer. The book was so good and I just wanted to bask in it’s greatness in private for a little longer. Other than that one quick tweet to tell everyone to read it. Today is the one year anniversary of it’s publishing and I decided it’s time to share. I could just mail it to him. But that’s so 1999. And if I can persuade even one more person to read this book, I’ll be happy. Plus, I share everything else with the internet, why not share this. I’m starting to think I need to get a pet. Or a roommate.
Here it is. My internet letter to John Green. Read this. Then read this book. You’ll never be the same.
Dear John Green,
It is 11:53 pm. On a Sunday. I have a New Year’s goal (not a resolution because I refuse), to have screens off by 10:00 and read for a half hour. Clearly I have missed this goal tonight.
I can’t remember how exactly I learned of The Fault in Our Stars. I think probably your twitter account. Which I found through Crash Course (btw, I love Crash Course). But once I did discover its existence, I resisted reading it. I am the child of a mother who fought cancer as a 12 year old. Though the chemo and actual battle with cancer was won decades before my birth, I have watched my mother deal with the after effects my whole life. She is a strong woman but man is cancer, and all that it entails, a bitch. I love my mother, truly adore her and all that she has taught me. And to see her have even one crummy afternoon because of this evil thing is upsetting. I tell you this because it is the chief reason why I held out, why I refused to peak between these pages. I love the work you do on Crash Course and VlogBrothers. I had no doubt that this book would be phenomenal. But I didn’t want to put myself in that world. I was afraid it would hurt too much.
But then I kept seeing it pop up in your twitter feed. And I noticed the attention you were receiving (well deserved, I might add). And I couldn’t say no anymore. I bought it as a post-Christmas present to myself. And damn. Damn. This book was phenomenal.
I mean. Just. It’s hard for me to even put into words how remarkable this book was because I fear once I start I’ll just keep going. A good book can make a person cry. A great book can make a person laugh. But the greatest book can make a person cry (check), laugh (double check), and gasp (triple check) all in the same paragraph. I’m a science geek. I think bio is the cat’s pajamas. Since a young age I have gravitated to math and science and have avoided English and reading as much as humanly possible. Since college I haven’t changed much. I want to read more (another goal for 2013) but I’m not particularly well read. However, when I read the line “It’s hard as hell to hold on to your dignity when the risen sun is too bright in your losing eyes” I wanted to sit down and write a ten page paper, right then and there. I have no idea what the subject would be because, hello, science. But I’d find something in those pages that my English lame brain could process.
I knew I would cry, how could a person not expect to? But the surprise came in how deeply and irrevocably moved I was by these characters and your words. Your words. Just. They leave me speechless. And a couple of times they left me breathless. Literally. I’m using the word correctly. I had to sit up in bed for fear of suffocation.
I don’t really know how I’ll go in to work tomorrow and be surrounded by people who haven’t read this book. To live in my world that isn’t filled with people who know the world of The Fault in Our Stars. It is my hope that everyone in their life reads this book. I will be wholeheartedly disappointed in our society if this book does not end up taught in all classrooms along with The Jungle, Of Mice and Men, and A Raisin in the Sun. A magnificent book in a long line of American novels craftily bringing us into a world many of us will never know in person, but should be understood in order to live as a member of the human race and to appreciate the true frailty of the life we each lead.
I’ve loved other books. And I’ve been tempted to reach out to an author. This is the first time I have actually followed through. We’ve never met. I doubt we ever will. And the whole world is waking up to the phenomenality that is this book (I’m an engineer. We make up words. I’m going with it). But I felt compelled to add my voice to say: Well done sir. Well done.
I look forward to reading your other works; present and future. And tuning into Crash Course and VlogBrothers, of course!
Your newest, life-long and never wavering fan.
Wow, Liz, that's a great string of words you put together. I have no idea what the book is about, but your response to the author… phenomenality!