Monday, June 16, 2014

In Which I Talk about Fault in Our Stars (book and movie) and other things

So here's the thing: I liked the book better. A lot better, actually, even though watching the luminous film and the absolutely brilliant and lovely Shailene Woodley was a satisfying experience and one that stayed quite true to John Green's text. It just didn't move me the way the book does. Why? Lots of reasons, and I know I'm not the first to post them.

But for the record: The return of Gus's cancer comes without any of the tragic foreshadowing that accompanies it in the book: the argument with his parents that Hazel overhears as they're about to go to Amsterdam. His overwhelming on and off exhaustion while there, including after their love scene. And likewise his death, which comes without the full and not at all hopeful litany of his downslide and the ravages that the illness make on him as he heads toward both the tragic and the mundanely inevitable. I wanted it to be real. As real as it felt in the book. And it felt… not quite there. Close -- like the scene in the gas station, yes. But not quite there.

Feel free to disagree with me. That's the great thing about lit and film-- we all get to have our favorites and our opinions. (yes, even those of you who review my own books!)

Maybe it's because I loved the book so very much and I wanted every word of it be somehow reflected, which I know is impossible, but still.

Maybe it's because I also missed Phillip -- the night time breathing machine to which Hazel was hooked up in the book but was missing in the movie.

Maybe it's because I wanted to cry more. I did not cry when Gus died. But I did cry when Sam Trammel, as Hazel's dad, held up that welcome sign at the airport. Something in the way his face crumbled with both joy and sadness when he saw Hazel and  her mom and Gus just wrecked me.

Pondering all this on this fine Monday morning.

If you've both seen the movie and read the book, what did you think?

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