I'm probably not the first person to tell you about this book. If I am, then this is obviously the first time you have left the house or connected to the internet in the last couple of years. If so, thank you for coming here first.
I dismissed this for a while as one of those popular books I'd probably read once all the hype died down (I still haven't gotten around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower but that's probably because Emma Watson was in the film).
I don't know what it is about these books, I kind of want to read them but I don't at the same time. And then one day I downloaded them all in one go. Thank you Amazon and your bloomin' suggestions.
So I was feeling a little sceptical. Even though I was aware of the book, I had no idea that it was about cancer until I read the first page and then reread it again because I was confused - "Depressed teenager, yep ok... depression is a symptom of dying... wait, what?"
Yet despite the heavy subject material, the doom and gloom is flung out the window from the second page (or soon thereafter).
First of all, if you don't know what happens yet, let me just say that everything you think is going to happen DOESN'T HAPPEN.
I formed so many ideas about what might happen in the end and was blown away by what actually does.
Second of all, if you do know what happens and you haven't read the book - why? Why would you do that to yourself? Or more importantly, who did that to you??
The other day I literally unfollowed a blog because the blogger in question revealed the entire plot in her book review. WTF that's not cool. This is one of the biggest stories to hit popular reading since the whole teen trilogy epidemic, you do NOT ruin that for people!
So now I hope you are sufficiently curious about the book, in which case I should tell you to go and buy it right now. I don't care if you're not near a bookshop, you're probably near a device of some kind that will support a Kindle app at least. If not.. well.. I guess you'll have to wait.
So what am I actually saying about the book?
Well it picked me up, tossed me about, pounded me against a rock and then left me feeling pretty ok. It will blow apart your conceptions of life and the way it always goes. Think that good things happen to good people? Think again! Think that once you're ill, it's the end of your life? Think again, again!
I read some of the low rated reviews on Amazon just to see what those sick and twisted people actually had to say for themselves and a criticism of the book is that the teenage protagonists, Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace, don't actually speak and act like normal, relatable teenagers.
Well a) it's a book and b) ignoring that, there's a pretty big reason for why they might not be speaking like normal teenagers. Besides, Hazel Grace is an absolute brain box who is ahead of her class because she's been studying on her own for so long. Of course she knows long words and discusses various metaphors, she's been stuck inside with books for most of her life!
These characters are inspiring. They need a stronger word than that. They're life-changing. If they were real people, we would be floored by their resilience and desire to live their lives around their cancer.
But perhaps fiction and truth are closer than it seemed.
If the book moved you to live your life to the full for a while then let the work of Stephen Sutton, a teen with cancer who, to the misfortune of the world, passed away on Wednesday morning, push you to remember this message for the rest of your life.
Some infinities are bigger than others.