When you close a book after reading the final page the characters and their story sort of just… end. But in the really good books these characters become immortal and they take on a life of their own in our imaginations that egg on their continued existence.
In the hot teen book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green the characters do tend to take on a life of their own. And in the end, well, yes they linger. They linger in your mind and in your heart because you feel something strong for them. You feel like you have gotten to know them and become their friend. You feel like you travelled halfway across the world with them and laughed with them and cried with them and even offered your two-cents worth at their pre-funerals.
As an author, I was struck dumb with Green’s lavishly crisp writing and sharp dialogue. He is one of those authors who make other authors like me say, “Crap. This guy just raised the bar even higher.”
Must. Reach. Farther.
And to the stars we must reach in order to achieve perfection in our craft. Or, if we at least want to be as good a writer as this guy.
Don’t think for a minute that you can get away with reading this book in public – if you don’t want to humiliate yourself by all the crying you’re bound to do. It’s a lot harder for a book to make people cry than for a movie. A movie has many mediums vying to tug at the heartstrings at just the right moment, with just the right notes from the orchestra, with just the right look from the actor, or the right word from the screenwriter, or the right scenic view by the cinematographer.
But a book? The author is carrying the load all on his own to evoke such powerful emotions from the reader. His choice words, verbs, adjectives, timing, scenario, etc. And Mr. Green demonstrates not only that it can be done, but it can be done well. (I only hope my upcoming book I Am the Lion (Nov. 11, 2014) can be half as touching as this book.)
I will miss you, Augustus Waters. And Hazel Grace, wherever you are, keep dreaming of that sequel. Okay?
I will be visiting the rest of John Greens books very soon.