The Fault in Our Stars-Planning a Funeral

There will soon be a flood of tears and anguished sobbing in theaters across the nation.  “The Fault in Our Stars”, the fourth novel authored by John Green, is hitting the screens of theaters everywhere after its successful launch as a top-selling young adult book.

The book was suggested to me by a teen that is not such an avid reader and proclaimed it to be "the best book ever."  Diving into teen literature is not something I often do, but this book was different.

“The Fault in Our Stars” is not just another sappy teen love story.  The story is about falling in love, raw adolescent emotions, cancer, and honest conversations about death and dying.

Get a large box of tissues before you open page one. You will need them near you, trust me.  Forewarning to anyone who is parent of a teenager.  Emotions will run deep. Be sure to take a box to the theater too.

John Green was inspired by the real life story of Esther Earl, whom John befriended and who died from cancer at the age of 16.  The book follows the trials and tribulations of two teens falling in love while tackling the many obstacles thrown in their way while attempting to lead  “normal” adolescent lives.  The story mixes humor with the realities and hardships of living with cancer.  It is about parent and child relationships. It is about important, honest, conversations and choices one must make when faced with the inevitable. And it is about the death of a child.

One of the many messages woven into the fabric of this story is that of end-of-life planning and planning for death.  Augustus takes time to plan his own funeral and makes his wishes and intentions known. He communicates who is to eulogize him at the service he has planned.

“The Fault in Our Stars” will change the way you think about death and stir up some pretty raw emotions while providing a deeper understanding and sympathy for those teens, and their families, currently fighting personal battles against cancer.  According to the National Cancer Institute, 70,000 adolescents and young adults (15-39) are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States and 5 % die within five years of diagnosis.

Those statistics are both sad and alarming. “The Fault in Our Stars” gives us some comfort that love and happiness can be experienced while battling cancer and we all can make choices about how we live, and, sometimes, how we die.

Let me know what you think about the book and the movie.