The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, narrated by Kate Rudd
Published in audio by Brilliance Audio; published in print by Dutton Juvenile, an imprint of Penguin
Hazel Grace Lancaster isn’t a huge fan of her cancer support group. It is the same thing over and over, other than the fact that the list of the dead grows ever longer. When smart and cancer survivor cynical Augustus Waters joins the group to support a friend, though, Hazel finally has a reason to go, and a reason to connect to the people around her. As a cancer kid who has been out of school for years, Hazel is no longer particularly close to her peers, but Augustus understands her in a way that others cannot. And, perhaps most importantly, he understands her love of Peter Van Houten’s book, An Imperial Affliction. In fact, Augustus is even willing to use his wish for a trip to Holland so that he and Hazel can meet Van Houten and attempt to gain closure on his story.
Thoughts on the story:
Many people have felt emotionally manipulated by The Fault in Our Stars, but I don’t think it is particularly manipulative. The main characters are, after all, a boy who is in remission with bone cancer and a girl with terminal thyroid cancer. There is inherently some measure of manipulation in such a story, unless the author goes the direction of being completely unrealistic. Once you sign on to read a book where nearly everyone is incredibly sick, you must expect some incredibly sad moments. John Green definitely brought the sad and emotional moments in The Fault in Our Stars. One of the most emotionally affecting moments is Hazel’s determination that she will not be a grenade in the lives of people she loves, hence her attempt to distance herself from those around her.
Thoughts on the audio production:
Kate Rudd is a wonderful match for The Fault in Our Stars. She perfectly captures both Hazel’s fear and her sarcasm. It is amazing how she and Green’s words can cause a listener to actually laugh out loud about the plight of being a teenager with cancer, but she does and it is incredibly effective. It is important to be careful to when and where you are listening to this, though, because the audiobook is, at times, tear-inducing.
Yes, this is a very emotional book, and as such won’t be for everyone. I can certainly understand that some people have felt manipulated, but I found The Fault in Our Stars to be a tragically lovely book, one that is certain to work well in either print or audio.
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