I bawled like a baby. I’m a sucker for tragedy, even though I know that I will just end up crying my eyes out.
The story is about Hazel Grace Lancaster (a.k.a. Hazel), a sixteen year-old cancer patient. I should say cancer survivor, but the truth is, she wasn’t actually well at all. She was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid when she was thirteen, and eventually she developed tumors in her lungs. Doctors discovered a miracle drug that could help her, it did help her in the sense that her tumors shrank but they didn’t really disappear. For years, she has been tethered to an oxygen tank that helps her breathe. She ended up living in cancer, not dying from it. Which sucks, in my opinion.
I mean, if I were in her shoes, I don’t really know which I would prefer. Dying of cancer, leaving everyone I love behind, but done with the suffering OR living with cancer, couldn’t go anywhere without my oxygen tank, but able to spend more time with the people I love?
So anyway, Hazel was forced to attend a Cancer Support Group because her parents feared that she was suffering clinical depression. There, she met Augustus Waters (a.k.a. Gus) a seventeen year-old cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma years back, but one of his legs was amputated, and for more than a year, he had been NEC (No Evidence of Cancer).
They were drawn to each other, but Hazel kept her distance because she compares herself to a grenade: ready to explode any moment, and the people around her will be hit by the shrapnels from the explosion. Augustus was persistent though, and in the end, they became a couple.
“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.”
The catch: Towards the end of the story, Augustus had a recurrence, and it was terminal this time. Hazel had been living with this fear that she’s a grenade, but it never occurred to her that she’s in love with a grenade as well. She stayed by his side through his treatment, but he eventually died. :(
(To those who still haven’t read the book, I’m so sorry for the spoiler! I just really had to tell the story.)
My favorite quotes from the book:
“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” – Hazel
“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.” – Augustus
“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.” – Peter Van Houten
“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.” – Augustus
“Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said. (Hazel)
“Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.” (Augustus)
“The world is not a wish-granting factory.” – Augustus
“Augustus Waters was a self-aggrandizing bastard. But we forgive him. We forgive him not because he had a heart as figuratively good as his literal one sucked, or because he knew more about how to hold a cigarette than any nonsmoker in history, or because he got eighteen years when he should’ve gotten more.’
‘Seventeen,’ Gus corrected.
‘I’m assuming you’ve got some time, you interrupting bastard.
‘I’m telling you,’ Isaac continued, ‘Augustus Waters talked so much that he’d interupt you at his own funeral. And he was pretentious: Sweet Jesus Christ, that kid never took a piss without pondering the abundant metaphorical resonances of human waste production. And he was vain: I do not believe I have ever met a more physically attractive person who was more acutely aware of his own physical attractiveness.
‘But I will say this: When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him.’
“It seemed like forever ago, like we’ve had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” – Hazel
Now I am in danger of writing the whole content of the book here if I continue sharing my favorite quotes, so I will just stop right here. :)