Author: John Green
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Somebody needs to smack me around for taking my sweet time getting to this book. Especially since I've had a signed copy on my shelf for ages. I guess even I was tired of waiting on me to get around to reading it, though, 'cause I ended up listening to the audio instead. I don't think there's a word for how far from being a mistake that decision was.
Kate Rudd perfectly executed the narration of the verbose Hazel Grace and the loquacious Augustus Waters. Her portrayal of these two unbelievably poignant characters still has me pondering the book, days after finishing it. Every bit of the dialogue felt as if I were listening in on a real conversation between two real people, the wit and dry humor perfectly reflected in their sarcasm and clever banter. Rudd's intonation was such that every emotion could be felt through the headphones as if it were my own. I am not a cryer, and I'm not sure if I would have cried reading this novel to myself, but Rudd's interpretation of this book managed to bring me to tears. And not just a few, either...no I was ugly crying, sobbing at my desk at work like someone had just run over my childhood dog. (Luckily, I share my office with my sister, and she understood...I even got her to listen to it!)
I don't know what I can really say about this novel that hasn't already been said. But, maybe I should mention that this is my first John Green novel, so I had zero expectations going into it, other than having been warned that I would bawl my eyes out. (Which I did.) However, I do have experience with novels about cancer and other illnesses. I really don't want to admit this, but I had a penchant for Lurlene McDaniel's novels when I was a prepubescent youth. I know, I know. Looking back now, those novels were
Their story is beautifully sad and even amazingly funny at times, and it is masterfully told without coming off as morose or by making light of the situation these two kids are faced with. And what endears me to this author further is that the characters are intelligent and clever and sound like real teenagers, not the perceived notion of them. And Green took chances with these characters. They are quirky and imperfect. They're dealing with issues and illnesses that some have never even heard of, and they don't always take things in stride. But it is the imperfect way in which they handle life's setbacks that make them honest, real, and right.
This may have been my first John Green book, but it will not be my last. I finally see what all the fuss is about. And now I want to read and own every book he's ever written. Because I can't imagine this book is a fluke. Or that thousands of people could be that wrong.