The Fault in Our Stars, Chapter 3

Last time, backstory. This time, absolutely nothing happens at all, and the quality of the writing takes a nosedive. *sigh* I got prematurely excited about the quality of this thing. I need to learn to not hope.


Here’s what happens in this chapter: Hazel’s mom wakes her up because it’s her half-birthday. Hazel goes to the mall with a friend. Hazel ditches said friend and sits in a corner and starts to read a book.

The end!

It actually sounds even more interesting than it is.

So, Hazel tells us she stays up late reading The Price of Dawn, and then sleeps in the next morning.

Mom’s policy was never to wake me up, because one of the job requirements of Professional Sick Person is sleeping a lot,

OH MY GOD STOP CAPITALIZING RANDOM THINGS.

It’s driving me up a fucking tree.

You know what? Know what? I’m doing this.

The Random Capitalization Count:  32

Thirty-fucking-two. I went back and counted. You can see why it’s making me murderous.

Anyway.

So, Hazel’s mom wakes her up, which is odd. She does so because it’s Hazel’s half-birthday, and she’s CAPSLOCK HAPPY about it:

“HAZEL! IT’S YOUR THIRTY-THIRD HALF BIRTHDAY!”

Again, wasn’t joking.

It doesn’t occur to Hazel (who, for all her faux-philosophizing, is kind of dense) that maybe her mother is so excited about this because she doesn’t know if her daughter will live another six months, or is so happy she lived even this long. Instead, Hazel tells us: My mom was really super into celebration maximization. IT’S ARBOR DAY! LET’S HUG TREES AND EAT CAKE! COLUMBUS BROUGHT SMALLPOX TO THE NATIVES; WE SHALL RECALL THE OCCASION WITH A PICNIC!, etc. How does Hazel not get what’s really going on here?

“You don’t want to go to a movie with Kaitlyn or Matt or someone?” who were my friends.

What the hell kind of grammar is that? This is the second really, really glaring grammatical problem. Where were the editors?

Anyway, at her mother’s insistence, Hazel calls an old school friend, Kaitlyn. We get a half-page of totally interesting and exciting exposition about Hazel and Kaitlyn’s text message conversation (I hate when writers do this) and Hazel going to school.

Hazel buys the next two books in the series Gus told her to read. Hazel goes to the food court, where she sees her mom doing paperwork. Hazel tells us what time it is. Hazel sits and waits for Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn comes. Kaitlyn gets an infodump clothing description paragraph.

“Darling,” she said, vaguely British. “How are you?” People didn’t find the accent odd or off-putting. Kaitlyn just happened to be an extremely sophisticated twenty-five-year-old British socialite stuck inside a sixteen-year-old body in Indianapolis. Everyone accepted it.

This confused the hell out of me. I had to read it a few times. I think what Green meant was that Kaitlyn put on a British affectation to say hi to Hazel. I have no idea if it continues for the rest of her dialogue; it doesn’t come up again. I don’t know if she legitimately has an accent. I think Green thought it was cute and quirky; it’s just confusing.


So, they talk. Kaitlyn tells Hazel she’s seeing someone; Hazel lies and says she’s not because she doesn’t feel like telling her she has a crush. Keep this in mind.

They go shoe shopping for six paragraphs, and then Hazel lies and tells Kaitlyn she doesn’t feel well and is going to go home. She doesn’t.

And I liked Kaitlyn, too. I really did. But three years removed from proper full-time schoolic exposure to my peers, I felt a certain unbridgeable distance between us.

Maybe it’s because you refuse to tell her about your life and then ditch her after inviting her to go shopping because you don’t like shopping. What the hell do you want from her?


I’m finding Hazel unlikable.

I found a bench surrounded by an Irish Gifts store, the Fountain Pen Emporium, and a baseball-cap outlet—a corner of the mall even Kaitlyn would never shop

I’m about to blow your mind, John Green: I like shoe shopping and baseball. I know, I know. I’m seeking help, don’t worry.

Also, for “an Irish Gifts”: 

RANDOM CAPITALIZATION: 33

Anyway, she sits down and starts reading Midnight Dawns, the next book in Gus’ series. We’re told over and over how it’s like someone novelizing Call of Duty in that people are constantly getting shot, so I’m telling you because I guess maybe it matters? I can’t really tell if it’s going to matter or not.

Then, a little girl interrupts her reading to ask about her breathing tube. We get that scene where the parent is like “OH NOES” and Hazel’s all “Let the children come to me!” that’s in every story about illness ever. This is what I mean when I say this story can’t just use cancer as its emotional cop-out. This scene would be cute and touching and whatever if it wasn’t in every fucking story about disease ever. It’s a cliche, and it’s a bad one, and you should feel bad for using it.

Then Hazel starts reading again and the chapter is over. This is the last line of the chapter:

Anyway, I really did like being alone. I liked being alone with poor Staff Sergeant Max Mayhem, who—oh, come on, he’s not going to survive these seventeen bullet wounds, is he?(Spoiler alert: He lives.)

It’s at the very bottom of the page in the hardcover copy I have, and I actually flipped the page back and forth a few times because it was such an abrupt ending to a pointless chapter. I went so far as to check the page numbers to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Guys, this chapter sucked.

And I’m getting the feeling that John Green thinks he’s much, much more clever than he really is. That freaking “Spoiler Alert!!!” thing came up in this 4-and-a-half-page chapter three times. If I see it again I’m starting another count.

BACK TO CHAPTER 2

ON TO CHAPTER 4

11 Comments

  1. Just once I’d like to see the person flip out when the kid asks them what their oxygen tank is for. My uncle did when he was diagnosed at nineteen and ended up having to use one. He was angry. He hated god, and was very vocal about he thought god hated him. It wasn’t like so many cancer narratives I’ve read or movies I’ve seen where the cancer patient is angry for like ten minutes before accepting their illness and learning an important life lesson. His death was slow, painful, messy, and destructive. People like him are very under represented in the world of cancer books. 

    2
    1. Eric says:

       I feel like that would be far more compelling then the usual trite nonsense.

      1. actonthat says:

         Agreed. It would actually be interesting.

  2. anon says:

    whoever wrote this is fucking annoying like there are people who are trying to read the summaries and this bitch is writing on how he/she hates the book and how its stupid. THEN WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU WRITE THIS SUMMARY IF YOU HATE THE BOOK holy shit 

    1. Farla says:

      Next time do your homework instead of trying to look up a summary at the last minute and getting mad the internet didn’t hand you one.

      2
  3. RG says:

    I remember a Kaitlyn, a friend from middle school whose parents pressured to stay in touch with me after I moved. I was the outsider immigrant and her grandparents are famous deaf people. So yeah it was an awkward friendship and I didn’t trust her with subjects close to my heart because she wasn’t actually interested in me. If I told her my success, she accused me of exaggerating and bragging. If I talked about my problems, I was whiny and dramatic. So, how about them Orioles?

    1
  4. tite says:

    some of you people is stupid

    1. Seed of Bismuth says:

      At least they’re not as stupid as you

  5. Torako says:

    god. maybe i’m just boring and not special like hazel and kaitlyn, but i would totally go to a fountain pen store. i’ve been in one because my grandpa collects them and they’re really pretty!

    this could be just me being bitter, but this is why i REALLY hate “quirky” YA characters… because really they act like completely ordinary teenagers but pretend they’re different for doing so, and when i was in high school a lot of the girls i wanted to be friends with (because we were in similar clubs, similar classes, etc) thought they were “quirky” and “different” and then rejected me because i was actually different. (not because of my interest in fountain pen stores, mind, because i’m autistic, but i see the fountain pen thing as a symptom of the problem.) (i’m 22 now, things are better, but that combined with many failings on the part of the school district and a doctor i saw when i was 7 that led to college being much more difficult for me than necessary means i’m still pretty bitter about my k-12 education in general.) (sorry for the random irrelevant infodump…)

    i’d love to see a YA novel about someone who’s ACTUALLY different.

    3
    1. actonthat says:

      I had the same experience in high school. I have a whole slew of actually-different-making chronic illnesses that created a huge chasm between me and the girls around me, though I’ve never been diagnosed as autistic (God knows I’ve wondered, though). Few things annoy me more than people who are so desperate to ~be different~ because the reality of “different” is that it really fucking sucks.

      (eta: If you haven’t read “Quiet” by Susan Cain, I’d highly recommend it. Among other things she talks about how toxic the dominant classroom culture is for introverted and socially-anxious people. I am also very bitter about my K – 12 experience.)

      I have a long post on this planned when I’m done with the book, whenever that will be. But it’s definitely something I want to talk about very seriously.

      2
      1. CrazyEd says:

        Act, did this post ever get made? I’d check myself, but the FiOS link on your reviews page doesn’t seem to work for some reason (which is the actual reason I’m making this post). The Higurashi one similarly just redirects me to the main page (F/SN’s works). So, just a heads up, but you might wanna check those links. It may just be a problem on my end, but if it’s not, it should really be fixed now that the stars have aligned and you’re LPing seacats.

        Otherwise I might get spoiled to Higurashi because I’m unable to read it, and wouldn’t that just be terrible?

        (I kid. You even put up that nice big bold disclaimer in the Umineko LP because of me, so I can’t- and won’t- complain if you do actually spoil it for me. But there does seem to be something wrong with those links.)

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