Book information: New York: Dutton Books, 2012. 318p. 22cm
“So touching that it does really move me”, “A beautiful relationship. Be sure to prepare a box of tissue near by your side while reading”. Flooded with these highly praised comments, this popular bestseller has been ranked at the top wherever in bookstores or review websites. Intrigued by the waves of popularity and seemingly emotionally-connected story, I have been patiently waiting for my library reservation, and has finally been my turn lately after several months! With lofty anticipation before following the romance of two protagonists, I nonetheless end up being let down by the under-developed plot.
This teenage fiction features Hazel Lancaster, a 16 year-old girl succumbing to thyroid cancer, and Augustus Waters, a 17 year-old osteosarcoma patient. Falling in love after meeting each other’s eyes at the Support Group, they subsequently met each other and shared their most favourite book. Their admiration blossomed during each of their union, therefore spicing up Hazel’s days of dreary terminal. Later through a charity organization, Augustus fulfilled her wish to travel to Amsterdam, where they would meet face-to-face with Peter van Houten, the author of Hazel’s favourite novel “An Imperial Affliction”. However to their astonishingly dismay, the rude, insulting behaviour of van Houten the drunker left them a huge disappointment. Worse still, Augustus’s lethal cancer relapsed and even exacerbated after the Holland trip. Affirming their sustaining support during this struggle, even though he unfortunately passed away at last, her love for him never wavered.
In my own perspective, the story kicked off in a hasty manner. In just few pages, both protagonists started falling into a whirlwind romance only by eyes staring during the Support Group meeting. It was a bit ridiculous for Hazel, only meeting Augustus for the first time, to accept his offer to visit his house until the late evening. Most importantly, the unbalanced content placed much weight to their Amsterdam journey, but spent comparatively less pages on their solid togetherness amid Augustus’s sickness. While he was fatally ill, what they did were just having brief chit-chats and attending pre-funeral, rather than sparing endeavour for in-depth back-ups, joining hands to overcome physical struggles all the time. Plus, the trite content is too fast-paced and too bland, as well as lacks colourful description of each protagonist’s subtle feelings. It would be better if the author could further add the intimating moments during which the young lovers poured their heart to each other. Since this story was written in Hazel’s perspective, the author could also make most of several chapters to express her bliss while in love and heart-breaking days once Augustus had gone.
No matter how poignant this book the others perceived, to be frank, it has already fell short of my original expectations, and I just cannot simply turn a blind eye to reward it a thumb-up. If you would like to glimpse over some fictions about cancer patient, instead, I would recommend “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult to all of you. Despite not a love story, it is definitely an engrossing plot about a teenage girl who was expected to donate her kidney to her elder sister suffering leukemia. No matter in the writing style and the content, they have already lured me to flip over it once more. ♦