Wednesday, February 22, 2012


BLOG should, in my case, stand for Belated Log. I've been reading and not posting ... and I've been reading books and not finishing them. I recently started Child 44, which is well-written; but it begins in 1939 starving Stalingrad and in the first chapter, a scrawny cat is being hunted as food by two children, who are then hunted as food. One dies, and the other is killed by, or near, a train. I flipped forward and things did not look up. I like to read before bed, and though I'm not a terrific wuss, I thought I couldn't hack this one. Then I tried a history of the fall of Berlin in 1945. Murder and several kinds of rape. I should've known, I guess. Again, I set that aside. Then I found Green's book, started, finished, loved it.
It's a well-written, touching and at times painfully raw YA about a girl who has cancer and the boy (in remission) whom she loves. The book has fun with an author named Peter Van Houton, who wrote a book called The Imperial Affliction about his own daughter's battle with cancer and then went off to Amsterdam to become a drunken recluse. This is how Peter takes his Scotch before breakfast: "We pour Scotch into a glass and then call to mind thoughts of water, and then we mix the actual Scotch with the abstracted idea of water." In describing The Imperial Affliction, Hazel (the narrator) says that it's not a cancer book; and this (Fault) isn't either. It skewers all kinds of beliefs about how cancer patients should be and turns Maslow's pyramidal hierarchy of needs on its side. Of the two main characters Augustus (aka Gus) is the more lively, the more obviously charming; he's like the John Cusack character in Say Anything, whereas Hazel is more the Ione Skye. But, as Gus says, Hazel treads lightly on the earth; and she has plenty of heart and wryness to make us love her. Spoiler alert: Be prepared to cry.

No comments:

Post a Comment