“The Fault in Our Stars”: Cancer, breakfast food metaphors, and an abandoned swing set

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars is a teenage love story about being faced with cancer and potentially dying at a very young age. Wrapped in the sharp, clever humor of the protagonist Hazel Grace are profound thoughts on life, love, books, and all sorts of things she has the time to reflect on, where most other teens do not. She wastes her days watching mindless television, and attending a cancer support group. Then a handsome boy named Augustus appears and challenges the way she lives her life. Gus is the one who claims to love metaphor, but Hazel is forever explaining herself through hilarious, passionate defenses of objects such as scrambled eggs and an old lonely swing set from her backyard that her lungs no longer allow her to play on. This passion, intelligence, and uniquely humorous take on life are the things that intrigue Augustus. These are the things he sees and she cannot—she rants about objects because she doesn’t want to become “a grenade” or a cancer time bomb waiting to destroy his life as she feels she already is to her parents. In the end, Hazel Grace is a girl who opens to vulnerability and as a result, a fuller life filled with adventures, despite faulty stars that condemn her to living with cancer and carrying a breathing tank she names Philip. The Fault in Our Stars is witty, romantic, clever, and surprising, and will teach anyone how to more deeply embrace whatever life you’re given.

Recommendations:

If you like John Green’s style, his other books are just as entertaining and well written. Read next: Looking for Alaska (soon to be a major motion picture), Turtles All the Way Down (his newest novel, also with a similar protagonist who struggles but with a mental disorder), or An Abundance of Katherines.

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott is also about a girl with a severe medical condition that inhibits her in high school, in her interactions with other teens, and even limits her physical contact. Her life is changed when a boy with the same condition is admitted to the same hospital she is for a month.

For more recommended reads, visit https://hubpages.com/literature/The-Fault-in-Our-Stars-Book-Discussion-and-Recipe

Recipe:

This recipe was chosen because of Hazel’s insistence that eggs should no longer be classified as a strictly breakfast food. Also, bacon and cheddar cheese are mentioned as foods you can get anytime, but according to Augustus, you add scrambled eggs, which “have a certain sacrility to them,” and “they’re important!” (102). So make sure you DO NOT eat these for just breakfast, or you too will be guilty of contributing to the ghettoization of scrambled eggs.

Ingredients:

  • eggs
  • milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • bacon
  • shredded cheese
  • green onions

Directions:

For the full list of ingredients and directions, visit: http://hub.me/amDjp

Discussion Questions:

  1. On the first page, Hazel notes that “Depression is a side effect of dying.” What other side effects are there?
  2. Why does Augustus fear oblivion? Is that a common fear for teenagers, or is it usually found in the elderly or the dying? Why?

For more discussion questions, visit: http://hub.me/amDjp

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