A story of two “cancer kids” it should be devastating (and it certainly made me cry)—but somehow The Fault in Our Stars expansive.
Its message is that the value of what you experience in life is not measured in years.
That meeting and falling in love with someone extraordinary is worth the pain you know you will suffer when you lose them.
Some of my favorite lines…
Amsterdam is like the rings of a tree: It gets older as you get closer to the center.
On the meaning of life:
…and then Dad said, “You know what I believe? I remember in college I was taking this math class, this really great math class taught by this tiny old woman. She was talking about fast Fourier transforms and she stopped midsentence and said, ‘Sometimes it seems the universe wants to be noticed.’
“That’s what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it—or my observation of it—is temporary?”
On the fact that we always want more:
But I couldn’t see it again, and it occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.
And my favorite line from the book—a line that anyone who seeks understanding, rather than power, will appreciate (aspiring writers will find it comforting):
The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invent anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox.
Apparently the movie is coming later this year.