I became interested when I heard it was a best-seller and if it got our Youth reading for fun rather than for school I was inclined to read it myself.
What is The Fault in our Stars about you may ask? Well to have a girl from my youth explain it would be "It's ada blah blah blah, it's so super, it's sad, it's so great" – a lot of nonsense words and adjectives, five minutes later you find out that it is essentially a love story about two teenagers who have terminal cancer that meet at a support group and develop a relationship with each other.
It shows the highs and lows of young love who really have to live in the now due to their terminal illness.
It must have looked like a weird scene that weekend when I purchased the book at my local store, I mean a 6'0" male, currently sporting a beard wondering in the teen-fiction area searching for this book - It wasn't hard, the store had a full display out in the middle. Once I started reading I flew through it and finished it quickly.
Without giving too much away in terms of plot, I could immediately see why the girls at my Youth loved it so much. The male protagonist (Augustus Waters) always has a clever quip during conversation and the banter between him and Hazel Lancaster the female protagonist is often heart-warming whilst also being quite funny.
The plot openly deals with cancer and the toll it takes on all those involved. From medical visits, hospital scares and treatment through to recovery and support. The emotions of the characters are strung out well from page to page
No kidding the book was great, I myself had some laugh out loud moments reading on the train but the fault I found was in one of the more popular quotes from the books that is "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities". This line struck me as different due to the fact that Augustus openly said the only thing he feared was oblivion.
The fact that we have a finite time here on earth and an infinite time after we 'move on', though the book has some Christian / non-christian themes (the author himself is a Christian) the book only has some very subtle Christian themes.
The fear of oblivion is one that has filled the minds of humans for centuries, what happens next. Us as Christians know that when we die we are simply reborn with Christ in Heaven and spend eternity with him. The opposite of that is an eternity of separation from Christ spent in Hell. At the end of the day it comes down to a decision, the bigger infinity of Heaven, or the smaller infinity that is your 80 years of life?
For some of my Youth, the here and now seems more important. I hope the Fault in our Stars shows them that it is important to remember you are not immortal, but mortal. Your teenage years can very easily be thrown upside down due to circumstance. Sure make the most of today, but don't ever forget the bigger infinity that awaits you.
Christopher Archibald lives in Sydney and is a Youth Leader at New Life Christian Church in Blacktown. A supporter of the Penrith Panthers in the NRL, he hopes 2014 will not be another "re-building" year.
Christopher Archibald's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/christopher-archibald.html