The Fault in Our Stars: John Green

Wondering if this would be useful in medical training classes:Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 09.33.02 (From Wikipedia >)

The Fault in Our Stars opens with 16 year old Hazel Grace Lancaster reluctantly attending a support group for children living with cancer. Hazel was diagnosed with Stage 4 Thyroid cancer when she was 13 (three months after her first period). At support group she meets Augustus “Gus” Waters, a former basketball star who lost a leg to osteosarcoma, and quickly becomes infatuated with him. Hazel convinces Augustus to read ‘An Imperial Affliction’, her favourite book, and he becomes almost as obsessed with it as she is. Intrigued by her intelligence, Gus begins to reciprocate her feelings, and the two begin to text and call each other frequently.

After Hazel is admitted to, and later discharged from the hospital with serious pneumonia, her relationship with Gus deepens. Gus had saved his wish from “The Genies” (a fictionalized version of the Make a Wish Foundation), and decides to use it to fly himself and Hazel to Amsterdam in the Netherlands to meet Peter van Houten the reclusive author of ‘An Imperial Affliction’.

On their first night in Amsterdam, they are treated to an elaborate meal, courtesy of van Houten. Their meeting with the author goes less smoothly, as it emerges that Lidewij, his assistant, set it up without his full knowledge in the hopes that it would inspire him to give up alcohol and write again. Van Houten is scornful and rude to the teens, and refuses to answer their questions. Distraught by their reception, Hazel and Augustus leave van Houten’s house, accompanied by a disgusted Lidewij. She takes them to the Anne Frank house, where they kiss.

Afterwards, Augustus reveals that his cancer has returned and has metastasized to several other parts of his body. Even though he starts an aggressive treatment regime when he returns home, he is not expected to survive long. Shortly before he dies, he asks Hazel and Isaac, another friend, to conduct a pre-funeral for him, so that he can hear how they will memorialize him.

Eight days later, Gus dies, and Hazel speaks at his funeral. Instead of the earnest speech she gave to him and Isaac, she repeats platitudes that will reassure his parents. After the funeral, she meets van Houten, who traveled to America to be there. He reveals that his daughter died of cancer. She provided the inspiration for Anna, the main character of ‘An Imperial Affliction’ and his rudeness can be partially attributed to Hazel’s appearance (she had dressed just like Anna).

She also discovers Augustus had been writing something for her, although the pages were torn out of his notebook. Eventually, she is able to track the pages to Amsterdam, and after an email to Lidewij, they are retrieved from van Houten. Augustus wanted van Houten to turn his notes into a fitting eulogy for Hazel, but van Houten decides to leave Augustus’s words alone.

The book ends with Hazel accepting Augustus’s eulogy with a present tense, “I Do.”


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