20th of August is supposed to be my 1st WordPress Birthday. Yeheeey! Should I be celebrating? Nah! 20th of August marks the birth to eternal life of my beloved grandmother, whom I fondly called Mama Natz. In lieu to my personally grieving and mourning state, I picked a good book to get me through the pain.
According to my “Date a Girl Who Reads” character, I should know the best writer who never fails to speak perfectly of pain and passing. As a matter of fact, “Date a Girl Who Reads-Pudding Girl-character” has picked no other than John Green. He may be famous in writing Young-Adult fiction, but, regardless of myself- a no longer young adult yet always young at heart- I find this particular John Green book talking about pain and passing in a great deal of appropriateness to the emotional baggage the I have to carry on a very sad day of August 20th.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
This book has been with me for months. As much as I wanted to read it the soonest I got it, the mood to do so just didn’t strike. Well, I guess it waited for the perfect state of emotions for me to be able to characterized and be one with John Green.
Ever wonder why it was titled as it is? I wondered, therefore, I found out. The title comes from a famous Shakespeare quote. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” This novel however, in one way or the other, serves to contradict Shakespeare’s quote by showing that uncontrollably many faults do lie within “our rotten lots in life”(a quote from Green’s first book-Looking for Alaska, which I happen to love as well). With the title alone, I contemplated on how I wish I am in-charge of who has to go or who will stay.
The book is about Hazel Grace Lancaster. A sixteen year old girl who suffers from terminal stage of Thyroid Cancer, whose malignancy has spread to her lungs making her unable to breath without the help of oxygen. She met Augustus Waters in a support group counseling for cancer patients to whom she fell in love with and so their story began. Hazel Grace loved a particular book titled An Imperial Affliction written by a so called Peter Van Houten which she was able to share to Augustus Waters and together they were obsessed on finding out for a probable sequel to the book to which they referred most of their cancer humor and weird wittiness. Through cancer perks and Genie wishes, they were able to travel to Amsterdam with high hopes that they will be able talk to Peter Van Houten and for the writer to personally tell them the whereabouts of the book’s characters. I am not going to emphasize more on the book or there won’t be left for you to read. The focus to cancer disease may drive most of the readers away but believe me when I say- This book is worth reading.
Why did I choose to read The Fault in Our Stars for this mourning period of myself and my family. Well, allow me to express with the following carefully chosen quotes from the book.
“That is the thing about pain…it demands to be felt” – In reality, pain is characterized as a feeling. John Green has successfully created a possibility for the readers to be able to experience how pain demands to be felt by crucially describing and writing the painful intensity of someone’s loss over someone who is loved so dear. So yeah, like Hazel Grace, in the rating of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I felt the passing of someone I love so much as unbearable that to rate it with 10 is an understatement.
“Without pain, we couldn’t know joy.” – so many times in the book, Augustus Waters told Hazel Grace that to be heartbroken because of her is a privilege. At first, I thought, maybe cancer patients really has weird type of humor. Who the hell feels privileged over being heartbroken? With my Grandmother’s passing, I realized, it is indeed a privilege to be heartbroken when it is caused by someone really special. Yes, I felt overly heartbroken when she passed away but relieved to see her suffering from pain has finally stopped. My Grandmother didn’t die of cancer. No, she did not. Her time has come that her birth to eternal life was claimed by the Eternal. According to Archbishop Romulo Valles who celebrated her funeral mass together with three other priest and Bishop Alo, the death of my Grandmother should be celebrated. She has lived a full life of her 93 beautiful years. I may have cried tons but in the end I felt joy. A newly recognized kind of feeling because now, I understand and embraced her death in acceptance that she has finally rest in peace. Without pain, we couldn’t know joy.
“The world is not a wish-granting factory” – Need I elaborate? I don’t think so. It is a fact. It is true. It is real. We cannot have everything we want. The world is not a wish-granting factory.
“You are so busy being YOU that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.” – I had experienced a couple of deaths with relatives and friends in the past. I realized that we are too focused on ourselves, we are unaware that human by nature fears oblivion. When everything else appears to be parallel, without previous existence or never before known or experienced, it is when we become aware that only the world around us demands to be noticed because we are just passing state of matter in this so called exposure named LIFE.
Lastly, I would like to share to you dear readers, the dialogue between Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters that made me decide to make this book among my favorites. The kind of book that I will have to come back and save it in case of fire or flood.
“Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them," I said.
"Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.”