Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different -Stephen King
Right away I am going to confess I am very much a book person and believe that the book is very personal and arising from the readers sensitivities ,as an adage goes that the book is a movie we see in our minds.In simple words, a book is something that we own- it is as special!Saying that I must add that I usually never ever read a book after i have seen the movie but there are times when curiosity gets the better of me and how.I remember watching this movie with DH in 2014 but remember reluctantly picking up this book a couple of weeks back and then somehow got compelled into watching the movie…again..and this time the experience was totally different from the first time when I had found it as more or less nothing great!
The Fault in our stars by John Green is a teen literature,now that alone would keep me off the book but that is not all .Its a story of a few young people whose lives are corroded by the mother of all fatalistic diseases-Cancer.So yes its also a cancer story.Added to mushiness of love and romance is the bleak and dark repercussions of a serious illness.The perfect recipe for a tragic love story of two star crossed lovers which is bound to tug at your heart!
Story begins with our introduction to the narrator and female protagonist,Hazel Grace Lancaster who as a result of her thyroid cancer is diagnosed with clinical depression which by her own admission is a ‘side-effect of dying’.Circumstances compel her to join a weekly Cancer Support group where hurtling into her life arrives the one-legged hero of the story ,Augustus Waters.He is a complete antidote to her overly cautious and despairing character,full of grandiose and sense of humor.They completely strike off as a roof on fire,from sharing a movie to meals to playing video games and even their favourite books right from the word go.It is an out an out love story.However what sets the love story apart is the fear lying around in the fringes of an omnipotent presence called death.
The emotional tempo right from the very beginning cannot be denied.One cant but help feel sorry for the parents who as Hazel reminisces –
“There is only one things in this world shittier than biting it from cancer when you’re sixteen, and that’s having a kid who bites it from cancer.”
Or you cant help but feel sorry for their friend Isaac who since he became blinded by the disease lost out on regular love-life.Or the ever lingering fear in Hazel’s mind when she thinks-
“I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?”
Perhaps the character of her childhood friend Kaitlyn is symbolic of the majority of the teen agers whose main growing up concern is the fulfilling of superficial needs like what shoes or clothes one is supposed to wear.one cannot be untouched by the dilemma of these teenagers who cannot enjoy the simple things that we all take so much for granted.Their constant struggle and heart breaks does lend a pathos to the story and brings out the tragedy of the disease which is described in the book as –
“Cancer kids are essentially side effects of the relentless mutation that made the diversity of life on earth possible.”
We also get an odd insight into how they must be perceiving the world around them-
I could feel everyone watching us, wondering what was wrong with us, and whether it would kill us, and how heroic my mom must be, and everything else. That was the worst part about having cancer, sometimes: The physical evidence of disease separates you from other people.
Having made that point the story has oodles of romance mainly between the two protagonist Hazel and Augustus.John Green provides with many well written dialogues.Sample this-
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
Also ,one may find many memorable sequences which are very beautifully written sometimes tinged with humour be it the swing set sequence or the time they spent in Amsterdam.All in all all its quiet a heart warming story which is bound to move you at times..
Now if we want to decide which is better -book or movie ,I must admit that on considering that most movie replicas of books are a rather pathetic attempt this one is rather a lovely experience. Don’t get me wrong but to truly understand the various characters or feel the story it is always better to go through this book first as I did.
This is one of those movies which is as close to the book as possible.Majority of the dialogues from the movie is directly quoted from the book.A few additional sequences have been omitted ,scenes trimmed and character deleted in order to make it less cumbersome for the movie but despite everything it followed the book to the T. A few changes which I noted while watching the film are as follows-.
1.The part where Hazel is compared to Natalie Portman is skipped or even them watching Portman’s movie V for Vendetta together on their very first meeting.
2.The various encouragements on the walls of Augustus home which is described distinctly in the book is missing.
3.The entire character of Hazels childhood friend Kaitlyn has been omitted.
4.Apart from her mentioning she studied in MCC it is never really shown in the movie.
5.We never hear about a certain ex in Augustus’s life called Caroline Mathers in the movie.
6.The sequences relating to Isaac has been trimmed.
7.In movie Gus picks up when they are leaving for Amsterdam and his altercation with his own mom not shown.
8.A scene where Hazel meets a little girl in the mall who shows curiosity about her cannula,is inserted into an airport in the movie and Surprise! Surprise book writer John Green makes a cameo.
9.Before leaving for Amsterdam discussion on scrambled egg is omitted.
10.No loud music is playing in Peter Van Houtens home when they reach there.
Well that’s all I can think of now.Movie is in no way a disappointment.With lot of good dialogues ,good star-cast,scenic locales and good background score thrown in it is bound to not fail.I would recommend this for youngsters or anyone interested in cancer story and if you are a bored little house wife like me you can give it a go as well ;).