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Love in children’s literature : the pain, the glory, the wonder

It’s a big old subject is love. Love changes everything. All you need is love. Love in media simply is. It’s one of the core tenets of our humanity, of our experience, and so we talk about it. We share it. We are inspired by it. We are made by, reshaped by and broken by love.

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Book Reviews

The Fault In Our Stars : John Green

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Meet Hazel. Hazel has cancer. Terminally so, but due to a wonder drug, she’s been given a few more years. And now she’s met Augustus Waters. This is the story of how they live and how they love.

I finished this, and I cried. Heavy, hard, long. I’m writing this with a box of tissues to hand, and with regular pauses to take full advantage of them. But, even as the tears still shake me, I can tell you one thing. This book is perfection. Utter, utter perfection. Written in a pinpoint sharp, almost ‘high’ literary fashion, full of meta-textual and magnificent conceit, it is a superb destined-to-be classic. I am blown away. Hugely so. I heard so much about this book before I got it, and it was one of those books that I almost didn’t, in some stubborn contradictory spirit. Everyone else liked/loved/raved about it, so why would I?

Well, I think now, I like it because I am human and because, even in all the verbal highbrow flirtations of Augustus and Hazel, even with their occasional slides into metaphor and meta, they remain sort of resolutely human throughout. They love. They love and they live so much and so hard and so strongly. Cancer is what they are, and what they are not. Ceci n’est pas une pipe. You do not define what I am.

It’s hard, I think, so hard to write books like this that are so bald, so bold, so brave. So resolute in what they are.

I attended Bristol Comics Con once and met Paul Cornell. My friend and I asked him, quite seriously, to stop writing stories that make us cry. I think if I ever meet or hear John Green speak, I will stare at him and wonder how on earth he made this book the piece of perfection that it is.

The Fault In Our Stars is a future classic. It is a gorgeous, enviable, crystal of a book. I think that maybe it is one of those books that I will just hand to people in the future and ask them to read it. And then I will give them a box of tissues.

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