Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Selection Follow-Up

Book club selection of The Fault In Our Stars by John Green 

We had an excellent turn-out this month and a new member!  Nothing brings people in like John Green, right?  Here are some of the things we talked about

Story
Well, it was sad.  More than one person talked about sitting at the kitchen table and crying as they read.  A few of us also talked about how we related to Gus and Hazel's parents, as well.  One of everyone's favorite scene's was the kiss in the Anne Frank House, which had a lot of symbolism, yes, but was also just a great scene.  What better place to have a kiss? John was asked about this scene in a recent Twitter chat:

Q: The way you handled Anne Frank's house was really well done. But why did you choose to have that scene there? 

A: I wanted to reclaim that space and make it alive and full of love, as it once was.

Characters
There was a lot of discussion about Augustus verses Gus and the significance of which name he was called.  As it happens, this was addressed in the twitter chat last night.

Q: Why was hazel calling Augustus "Gus" so significant? 

A: Augustus is a name for emperors; Gus is a name for children. So the journey from Augustus to Gus is the journey from strength to weakness, which I would argue is the real hero's journey.

We weren't the only ones who wondered about whether it was hard to write from the perspective of a teen girl.  It seems that John had a lot of input from his wife and other female friends.  It's also interesting that one or two people didn't really view Hazel's gender as being significant.  

Pacing/Flow
I don't think there were any complaints or comments on this front.   

Overall
This is the first book that everyone enjoyed!  I think we all recognized that enjoyment perhaps sounds strange with such sad subject matter, but considering how sad it was, everyone seemed to recognize that the humor paired with the honest story telling made it something special. 

As it happens, The Atlantic sponsored a Q&A Twitter chat with John Green about TFioS and it addressed some of the things we talked about.  If you'd like to read all of the questions and answers, go here.

Book Talk
Kathryn recommended Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  She claims to have made a Venn diagram related to the book.  (We want to see that diagram, Kathryn!)

Venom by Fiona Paul is being passed around the group and is getting a good response.  The sequel, Belladonna, will be released in July.