It was my niece Cielo, who introduced me to John Green. I could remember I was that time talking about the Millenials in my Organizational Communication classes, both in the undergrad and graduate school. Cielo said John Green is an author for the Millenials. So there, without much hesitation, I grabbed my first Green. And I didn’t look back since then!
Probably most of us have already read his “The Fault in Our Stars.” It will, in fact, be shown as a movie this June. Readers of this blog site may have already known by now his larger-than-life characters Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters (Gus), two cancer patients who have fallen in love with each other at a time of pain and uncertainty. This may be too late a review of that book. This is post-John Green syndrome!
I could remember as well bringing that book while attending a research conference at CDO sometime July of last year. In between listening to paper presentations I was there reading about Hazel and Gus and their heartbreaking story. That addiction saw me up until we were there in the local airport waiting for our flight out of that province. The following weekend I was done reading this popular Green novel. It was, true to another Millenial term, unputdownable!
Back in the office I had the chance to share with an office mate the merits and beauty of the book. By the way, that office mate was also with me during the CDO conference. I was able to recruit her to go and jump onto the bandwagon. Reading, as you see, just like research, is something we can rub to the other. [LOL!] That time I was done with the book, she did a marathon too, so that moment we were exchanging views about the book, she was through with it also.
I could remember sharing these points about the book to her. To an extent, the book would always go philosophical, intentionally. Like, the mention of the universe as something that would always want to be noticed. Isn’t that the premise of pain? To keep us alert? So we could notice the universe?
For me, the last few chapters when Augustus died, was where Green was at his utmost best as a writer. He described pain through Hazel’s words. That was too angst-y. Hazel thanked Gus for that “forever given at a very short time” or to that effect. ‘Forever’ is constructed here as a patch or an episode from one’s life. So it could be short-lived. It is described here as a moment of bliss with someone we care so much about. Enough for me to recall one favorite singer’s definition of forever as a place. Even then, forever is a personal, subjective construct, as all constructs are. For Hazel, that moment with Gus, although short and quick, was her forever!
What makes Green great is his contemporary writing style. Not stiff. Raw. Staccato style at its finest! Truly Millenial.
The book would always mention about [in]finities and temporality/ies, faithful to its attempt to [re]define our concept of ‘forever.’ And it is consistent with its thrust to be philosophical despite its being obviously a commercial genre intended for young [Millenial] readers [or those acting and thinking like this generational cohort, such as moi]. Personally, despite its being popularized, I find the book intelligent. Like, by way of illustration, that conversation on scrambled egg as stereo-typically a breakfast food. [That it must be eaten, customs would dictate, during breakfast only!] That is both fun and cute. Or, that premise on cancer cells as stubborn or pesky parts of us, often begging to be noticed. Or, another exemplar, that reference to existential blues as side effect of dying and not of cancer. [What's the diff?]
Finally, there’s that Venn diagram about virgins and one-legged cancer patient that I couldn’t understand. Gus was explaining this to Hazel one time after they had given in to that need or temptation to be too intimate. Maybe the textual person in me couldn’t decipher what that visual representations is trying to express. As always!
The last time I searched through Google images I saw the actor, who would play Gus, holding a cigarette, which is his metaphor for smoking or not smoking. Now it could picture out the texts well! Fanatics couldn’t wait more for the movie. This a film I would watch after I have fully read its book version. The more I would be critical, like most of us, to check the movie’s faithfulness with (or creative break-away from) the print counterpart. The excitement wouldn’t die down.
We’ll see the moving and real Hazel and Gus then. Finally! Alive.