Book to Movie: The Fault in Our Stars

TFiOS movie poster

TFiOS movie poster at The Cathay

I was pleasantly surprised when I checked movie schedules last Friday and saw that some cinemas had limited show times for The Fault in Our Stars. I found that surprising since movies here in Singapore usually do not have the same release date as the US. Since everyone else was talking about the film on Twitter, I wanted to grab the chance to see it as soon as I can. I watched the movie with a couple of friends on Saturday afternoon.

I thought it was a bit weird that Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort were cast as brother and sister in the movie adaptation of Divergent and then they’re cast as a couple in TFiOS. It didn’t bother me that much since Ansel didn’t have that big of a role in Divergent and Shailene really looks different in both films. After watching TFiOS, I can say that both actors did a good job in portraying the two main characters Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. They were believable as teens who have both led difficult lives because of cancer.

I really enjoyed watching the movie and I think it’s a good adaptation of the book. More often than not, the book is better than the movie version but in TFiOS’ case, I enjoyed reading/watching both. I’m not sure how involved John Green was in the production of the film but based on his social media posts, it seemed like he was there throughout the whole process. He was even supposed to have a cameo but the scene got deleted. Maybe the author’s constant presence had something to do with how well the film represented his book. All of the aspects of the book that I liked were also present in the movie, such as the humor, the smart conversations, the slow burn romance that started with friendship and a mutual love for a certain book. I’ve never been to Amsterdam so I loved the scenes that were filmed there, more so because the trip to Europe is a big deal for the two main characters. It’s a once in a lifetime kind of trip for the two of them.

I like it when there’s enough suspension of disbelief or I’m invested enough in the characters while reading a book or watching a movie that I get emotional. I cried when I read TFiOS back in 2011 and I got choked up and teary-eyed while watching the movie last weekend. I also smiled and laughed at certain scenes.

After seeing the movie, I have friends who asked whether I enjoyed watching it and would I recommend that they see it. I told them that yes, I thought it was a good movie but I recommend reading the book first. I do think TFiOS movie can stand well enough on its own but I think it’s more enjoyable if the moviegoer has read the book. It’s a quiet sort of movie that focuses on human interactions and emotions and I believe I was able to appreciate it because I’ve read the book and I was more familiar with the characters. Also, I have this preference of reading a book before watching a movie adaptation of it because I don’t want my reading experience to be influenced by the movie. But maybe that’s just my own thing.

What about the rest of you, did you go and watch TFiOS last weekend? What did you think of it?

TFiOS display at Kinokuniya

TFiOS display at Kinokuniya

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I was so excited to grab a copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green because I knew that he signed all of the first print editions. Also, I felt that so many readers all over the world were getting copies once it was released and I wanted to be part of that community of YA readers. When I saw a copy in a local bookstore, I grabbed it and read it as soon as I could. I have to admit that I haven’t read all of his books, even though I already have copies of them, but I promise I’ll get to them sooner or later.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Based on that premise, I had a feeling that this book will make me cry. I was right. I think I will always have a soft spot for well-written novels that have characters with cancer. I don’t talk about it that much because it’s a very personal thing for me but I’ve mentioned it on the blog before – my father passed away in 2007 because of lung cancer. I know other readers have pointed this out already but The Fault in Our Stars reminded me a bit of A Monster Calls in the sense that it’s a cancer book but it’s not just about the cancer. Both are books that can make you empathize with the characters, they made me feel that I was right there with them. I think John Green did an excellent job of realistically portraying what life must be like for a teenage cancer survivor. Hazel Grace knows she’s lucky she got a reprieve but she’s reclusive because she wants to minimize the hurt that she’ll cause the world when she passes away. She’s very matter-of-fact about her cancer. Here’s a snippet that I liked, fairly early on so it’s not spoilery:

“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”

I think Hazel Grace is a quiet sort of person, which is why Augustus’ bright and vibrant personality stood out more for me. In any case, that didn’t keep me from really enjoying the book. I love how the friendship developed between Hazel and Augustus and eventually blossomed into something more. It’s a slow burn relationship between two intelligent characters who bonded over their favorite books, how can I not root for that kind of relationship? And it’s the real deal between these two, even their parents could see that. Which brings me to another aspect of the novel that I liked – the supportive parents. We don’t get enough of those in YA nowadays. It has taken me a while to come up with this review and I’ve seen mixed responses from other readers – some truly loved it while others had problems with it. I’m okay with that, I’m just glad The Fault in Our Stars worked for me. It was the first contemporary YA novel that I finished in 2012 so all the other contemporary YA books that I’ll read within the year have big shoes to feel. John Green’s latest is a beautiful book. Read it if it’s something that you think you’ll enjoy and tell me what you think when you’re done. Okay? Okay.

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
The Book Smugglers
Random Musings of a Bibliophile
The Allure of Books

In My Mailbox: Gift Certificates Edition

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. This meme is about books that you received or bought during the week.

I still had a couple of gift certificates left over from the holidays and I decided to use them to buy books (no surprise there):

Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart
The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I used the Sodexo gift certificates that were given by the office to buy The Fault in Our Stars by John Green from National Bookstore. I was so excited to find out that this much-anticipated novel has made it to Philippine shores! I didn’t hesitate in grabbing a copy. The signature in mine is blue, what color is in yours? Were you lucky enough to get a yeti or a hanklerfish as well?

I got several Mary Stewart recommendations in my review of Nine Coaches Waiting so I bought three of her books using the Fully Booked gift certificate that I got through the office gift exchange. Thank you, gift exchange Santa! 😀 Sigh, bookstore GCs never last long in my hands. But it makes me happy to have copies of these pretty Mary Stewart editions! I really want to collect all of the books in the entire set.

I sent off postcards today and grabbed some philatelic stamps while I was at the post office. Will be using these in the next batch of postcards that I send:

What about the rest of you, what books did you get this week?