by John Green
“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be.”
Right off the bat, I'll say that I know this book is a really big deal for some people - it isn't really that much for me. I liked it, but I didn't love it. However, it did still have certain quotes that really stood out to me.
“You are amazing. You can’t know, sweetie, because you’ve never had a baby become a brilliant young reader with a side interest in horrible television shows, but the joy you bring us is so much greater than the sadness we feel about your illness.”
I read this book when I was pregnant, and this quote still had an effect on me. Now, having spent nearly 8 years in the company of a "brilliant young reader" who has a captivating personality, it is even more effective. I am a sucker for writing that describes the bond between parent and child, because I personally find it so difficult to put that feeling into words.
“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”
I haven't been to Amsterdam, though I would love to go whenever possible. But this line made me pause. Do people find sin in freedom? Is that the truth? I think it depends on what kind of freedom we're talking about.
The world is not a wish-granting factory.
You clench your teeth. You look up. You tell yourself that if they see you cry, it will hurt them, and you will be nothing but A Sadness in their lives, and you must not become a mere sadness, so you will not cry, and you say all of this to yourself while looking up at the ceiling, and then you swallow even though your throat does not want to close and you look at the person who loves you and smile.
Alright, this one got me. It made me cry, at the time. But, why do we glorify this denial of our feelings for the sake of others? Since the time I've read this book till now, I'm a much better crier. By better, I mean, the waterworks come out pretty easy now. It makes me stronger. It makes me feel better. It's not about sobbing at the drop of a hat, but you feel like crying, then you cry, lovely. And reach out for help.
…and then he broke down, just for one moment, his sob roaring impotent like a clap of thunder unaccompanied by lightning, the terrible ferocity that amateurs in the field of suffering might mistake for weakness.
I love that "amateurs in the field of suffering" part.
You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you.
Like I said, I found it alright as a book. Not something I would re-read again, but I do remember the story which means it wasn’t completely unremarkable. I sometimes entirely forget whole books that I have read, and I blame that on the plot. This was fine.
Started and finished – October 2013.