Englischsprachige Literatur

Green John

The Fault in our Stars

Dutton/Penguin, New York 2012


When you read this heart-breaking love story of two teenage terminally ill cancer patients, you can hardly believe that John Green has no personal experience in the matter, as he states in his authorīs note. The book is dedicated to Esther Earl, so maybe she was the model for 16-year-old Hazel, the heroine of this novel. She is a survivor of thyroid cancer that has metastasized to her lungs and she can only breathe with the help of a carry-around oxygen tank.

She is a regular if unwilling member at the cancer support group, where the list of those gone before them is steadily growing. Elliot brings his friend Augustus to one meeting and Hazel immediately falls in love with this good-looking cool 17-year-old, who keeps a cigarette dangling from his lips all the time without lighting it. His left leg was amputated because of osteosarcoma, but he declares himself “on a roller-coaster that only goes up” (p. 11).

Hazel and Gus become inseparable. Gus shares Hazelīs love and adoration for Peter van Houten and his novel  “An Imperial Affliction” (fictive author of a fictive book) and spends his one wish to the “Genies”, a fund for young cancer patients, to go to Amsterdam with Hazel in order to meet the author. Here they spend their happiest days, although the meeting with van Houten turns out to be a disaster. He is a mysanthropic drunk. But they just turn away from him  and finally make love. Shortly after Gus confesses, that a recent scan has found his every body cell full of cancer.

Although he gets the full treatment, his health deteriorates rapidly. He asks Elliot, who by now is completely blind, and Hazel in the middle of the night to the church, where the support group normally meets, and they speak their eulogies to Gus and he corrects them and makes fun of them. Weeks later he dies.

Hazel finds out that Gus has sent his own eulogy for her death to van Houten who has come to Gusīs funeral, full of self reproach but still disgusting.