Connections Week 8 (Audrey)

Aaaaand here it is friends, the final chapters. 8 weeks goes by really quick, huh?
So, my final role here is that of the connector, so I present to you these connections between TFIOS and the real world.

  • We fight a lot with loved ones like Hazel and Augustus do in previous chapters, and a lot of times in fiction, tensions are abruptly ended because one party is in immediate danger, and the two suddenly lose sight of what they were arguing about in favor of taking care of each other. I don't know about you guys, but I've definitely had family squabbles come to screeching halts due to a more urgent matter, much like how Hazel and Gus' little fight seemed to end quickly once Gus was put in danger.
  • I'm very lucky to have not had any of my friends die prematurely, and I have never had to stand at a family member's funeral and speak about them. (Thank God, because if I did I would start crying before I even got to the podium) Unfortunately, this is something that happens a lot in real life. I volunteer for a summer camp for kids with cancer and their siblings, and as much as I love helping to take care of these kids, sometimes they don't all make it back for next year, and it's hard for everyone, especially people they've grown to love.
  • The small number of funerals I've attended were for older family members who died of age, peacefully in their sleep and such, and although it's sad it's incomparable to the death of a young person. No one at my great grandmother's funeral pretended to know her or say how much she meant to them, so why would people do that with younger people? If I die prematurely someday, I'm counting on you guys to call out people who do that, otherwise I'm resurrecting myself and haunting you until the Ghostbusters come and get me.
There's not a lot here I can really connect because I personally haven't experienced a lot like this, and I don't know about any of your experiences with this. So let me know (by Thursday of course) and I would say until next time, but of course... we're done here. So instead I'll see you all in class tomorrow!
Great job everyone!

Discussion Leader Week 8 - Kathy

Hi everyone! Hope y'all had fun finishing up the book! just kidding i know you didn't

So I have some discussion questions for everyone today. :)

  1. Why do you think Hazel switches from calling Augustus "Augustus" to calling him "Gus" in this section?
  2. Is the book entirely tragic or can it be viewed as uplifting?
  3. Does the ending of the book meet your expectations based on the set up given? Why or why not?
  4. Would you consider this book to be one of Hazel's hated "cancer books", or do you think it holds deeper meaning than just that?

And that's my final post for this project. It's a little sad... But at the same time it was a great experiment and it was so fun to blog about a couple of my favorite books.


The Final Summary

Well, my friends, the time has come.  My final post to you all in the form of summary.
I'm going to tell you all what went down from chapters 18-25 (The End)

Ch. 18:  We left of last time with a little fight between Hazel and Augustus.  The next morning, Hazel is awakened by a phone call from a very endangered Gus at 2:30 in the morning.  He went to the gas station to buy some more cigarettes.  He did this on his own... well because he wanted to do something on his own.  However, somehow his G-Tube fell out and as it turns out was infected. But! Augustus doesn't want Hazel to call an ambulance (why, I'm not entirely sure... it would dent his pride?)  So instead she rushes down to the gas station, studies his situation, and still ends up calling an ambulance.  However, EMT's don't see Hazel and Gus as they rushed down the road, and they end up getting momentarily lost.  Meanwhile Hazel recites some poetry for Gus, and ends up adding on her own words at the end saying (in turn) that so much in her world depends on him.

Ch. 19: Just some more awkward family stuff in Augustus' house.  Screaming children with no filters, motivational wall signs, and Augustus subtly mentioning that he and Hazel had *cough cough* happy naked time.

Ch. 20: Okay okay okay, so!  This is the last chapter that contains Augustus... alive. In his last days, he held a "pre-funeral" with Hazel and Isaac.  Basically he wanted to hear what they would say about him.  So they met in the "Literal Heart of Jesus" late at night, talked a small bit, then Isaac went up to a podium and gave his eulogy.  I personally loved his speech, he gave a bunch of backhanded compliments to Gus and Gus was loving every word of it, even cried a bit after.  Then, of course, it was Hazel's turn.  She almost immediately mentions that they are "star-crossed loves" (note: not "loveRs").  But the focus of her speech was the verying sizes of different infinities, and how she and Augustus had a "little infinity within a number of days."  All very sweet, but after that Gus is dead.

Ch 21: Okay, what I'm going to take away from this chapter (besides the fact that Augustus is dead, which we already know) is what goes on from pages 264-266.  Hazel talks about the numbers of people who Gus hardly knew and never mentioned that were posting all over his Facebook (she never said Facebook, but I'm assuming. Sue me.) page that they love him, and that the knew how hard he was fighting and blah blah blah.  If you remember correctly, we experienced something very similar to this in Looking for Alaska, where all of the other students were talking about how hard her death was for them, when they hardly knew her to begin with.

Ch. 22: So this chapter is like the Facebook dilemma but in funeral form.  A bunch of people Gus hardly knew showing up to his funeral (which isn't a bad thing, don't get me wrong) and then acting so distraught over his death, as though he meant so much to them (there's the bad thing). Soon after everyone had arrived, Isaac went up, gave his speech (different to the one he gave at the pre-funeral), then Hazel (who, surprisingly enough) gave a cliche Facebook post speech.  Now, she somewhat explains why she does this, "Funerals, I had decided, were for the living." (273)  She recognizes that gathering all of these people here weren't so they could remember Augustus, is was so they could let him go and move on, quite like most all funerals. BUT Someone else shows up to this funeral... a certain fat alcoholic old man, YES! Peter Van Houten!  He was sitting right behind Hazel during the funeral, and had a talk with her after.  He begins by offering her the completed ending of An Imperial Affliction.  He said that Augustus contacted him (while he was still alive of course, nothing Ghost-Bustery) and says that he would be "absolved" for the way he acted to Hazel if he attended his funeral and told Hazel the ending. However, Hazel shoots him down and says that he basically isn't worthy of writing an ending to that book because he is no longer the man who wrote that book, just a pitiful old man.

Ch 23: So here we have Isaac and Hazel playing blind video games again where, eventually, Isaac mentions that Augustus was writing his own ending to AIA.  Naturally Hazel flips out and begins this vendetta to find it.  However, once she storms into her car from Isaac's house, she finds a certain someone in her car... no it's not Gus.  IT'S VAN HOUTEN.  Not really sure how he found Hazel, or got into her car, but yeah... he was waiting for her in her car.  She, of course, insists he leaves, however he simply denies and begins rambling about one of the characters in his book, Anna.  This, however, doesn't faze Hazel and begins driving to Gus' to find his ending.  Long conversation short, Hazel and Van Houten somewhat make peace and she encourages him to sober up and write a sequel. Soon after, she's at Augustus' house and looks for his ending to no avail.

Ch 24: Here we find Hazel continuing her search for these pages of Gus' story, still nothing.    Then later that night Hazel discovers that her mom has been taking college classes to get a degree as a social worker... for about a year.  She was keeping this from Hazel because she didn't want her to feel neglected, like they were looking forward to a life after her.  However, Hazel is overjoyed by this. Hazel knew that there would soon be a life after her and that her parents would be able to live and have a life once she's gone.

Ch 25:  (Final chapter... I'm gettin' all teary eyed you guys (psych, I'm a liar))  Hazel soon realized that maybe the pages weren't written for her, and entertained the thought that he sent them to Van Houten. So, she sent an email to his old... I'm wanting to call her his PA? Lidewij, yeah I think she was his PA. Anyways, she emailed Lidewij asking if she knew anything about them, and if she could search Van Houtens.  She soon responds saying that she didn't know anything, but would go search Van Houten's.  Then most of the chapter is just Hazel waiting and waiting for a reply and an answer.  In the meantime, she and her parents go to the park, and have a picnic to celebrate Bastille Day (I don't even know where they hear about these "holidays").  Anywho, Lidewij finally replies saying that she found the papers and forced Van Houten to read them, not out loud just to himself, because they were meant for him.  Van Houten then requested that they be sent to Hazel, because there was nothing more he could add to them.  It turns out that these pages weren't really an ending to AIA, more just a letter to Van Houten... I can't really describe what the letter was about.  There's just so much in it, not that it's necessarily long, just a lot to take in.

Honestly I've just been sitting here for about 30-45 minutes trying to describe his letter, but I honesty cant.  If you've read the book you know what he says, if not, then I won't ruin the ending for you. Go read it.

At any rate, I'm afraid I've run out of material to discuss with you.  Can't exactly say I'll miss this because it is, in fact, a school graded assignment and no matter what the task I hate doing things that are required of me.  However, doing this wasn't unbearable.  That's really all I can give you.

I would say "Until next time" but... um.. yeah.
But thank you all for reading this! It really has been fun.

A Two Grenade Love Story...

Connections of pgs. 181-252

In chapter 12, Hazel and Augustus finally get to meet Peter Van Houten. When Van Houten finally gets around to letting them in, he asks Augustus,

"Did you close the deal with that chick yet?"
I want to point out that I think Van Houten, though only a piece of it exists and it is tiny, has a heart. Somewhere inside him he cares, but also he's kind of mad, therefore I don't always think he knows what he is saying, or can filter his thoughts from his speech. When they're finally in Van Houten's house and trying to get a word in between his genius but rude word vomit, they both say "Um." when he asks what they're questions are. We all know what they want to say, but they're in such shock from the amass of his callous behavior.

Later we find out that Augustus's cancer is indeed back, when Hazel hears Van Houten say this, she doesn't give it a second thought, because she automatically assumes he's referring to win Augustus had cancer, in past tense, not present. However, I find myself wondering if Augustus even told Van Houten, but not Hazel (yet) that his cancer had returned. Hazel's fixation on finding out what happens to Anna's mother after she dies (most likely), I believe, is based on the fact she's so worried about her parents. Perhaps it will comfort her, knowing that there is a life after a mother's child dies, that happiness is still a possibility, almost as if it proves that her mother will be okay, when it is Hazel's time to "leave". 

 Hazel's depression not only stems from the fact that she's dying, but from the fact that she's going to hurt people, (mostly her parents) and so she thought of her cancer in ugly ways.  Hazel's not being selfish and feeling sorry for herself, she hates herself for being the reason for someone's heart to shatter. So he can't hurt her much more, she is not there to complete her last dying wish, well she is, but she's there hoping to find a piece for peace for herself, knowing there's some peace potential for her mother. When Van Houten denies Hazel answers and her and Augustus leave, she cries. And cries harder when Augustus tells her he'll write her an even better epilogue. I think she cries because she sees even more how much Augustus loves her.He speaks to her the way an adult might speak to a toddler with an "owie". But, I think one of the purest forms of love stems from adoration. When one becomes a child in their lovers arms. Hazel is so strong, and though it be only for a second, she lets Augustus handle it, and lets her walls tumble down and her world crash.

Augustus and Hazel so hurt, literally and metaphorically, give Anne Frank a gift, it's a beautiful tribute to her. The young woman who still loved even though the world and life had become something that hated her. And people clap, because it's beautiful, it makes sense. No one thought of it,  most likely because the house had such dark events in it remain. Yet in all of the darkness, Hazel and Augustus manage to show one of the few lights, of Anne Frank's life: Young Love. Young love in which hope is still alive, and teenagers have not given up.

When Hazel finds out that Augustus' cancer has returned she panics. Although it put both of them in the same boat, we can all understand what Hazel is feeling. Think of the person you love, lets say something terrible happens to you, but later something terrible happens to them and they suffer from that. You're love is so great, that it becomes okay for you to suffer but unacceptable for them to. Even more so, because it almost hurts more to watch them suffer. 

Augustus has a theme of helping Isaac, insisting that "Pain demands to be felt." As well as other emotions, rather than get revenge for Isaac, to show he has his back, he helps him get his own. He lets him ruin his things. Like the egging of Monica's car. He lets him do it, because he knows how it will make him feel. Augustus has a way of seeing into other people and being intuitive about what's best for them. He enjoys watching Isaac more than even partaking, because he knows that with every egg he throws, he feels a little better.

Finally in Chapter 18, our illusion of a surviving, optimistic Augustus breaks. He knows his time is coming. Being strong is exhausting, and he finally breaks. All the way, and just like Hazel in Amsterdam, he becomes a child in his lovers embrace. Why is it, that at certain parts in our life, everyone, that when we are too old to be treated like a child, we are treated as such in our lover's arms most commonly? And in fact, crave it too in moments like these, though we may never admit it?

Week 7 Summary - Kathy

Chapters 11-15 Summary

Hi everyone! Kathy here with the summary for the latest section of The Fault in Our Stars!

In chapter 11, they arrive in Amsterdam. Hazel and Augustus retire to their respective hotel rooms for a few hours before dinner, which they have at a fancy restaurant, Oranjee, without their parents. They each have some champagne, which both have a higher tolerance for due to the cancer treatment they've both undergone. They talk a bit about a capital-S Something that occurs after life and what constitutes a life worth living. They go for a walk along the canal and Augustus tells Hazel about his previous relationship with his ex girlfriend Caroline, who died of brain cancer about a year prior to the events of The Fault in Our Stars. Hazel tells him that she doesn't want her to do that to him, but Augustus reassures her that "it would be a pleasure" to have his heart broken by her.

In chapter 12, they visit Peter Van Houten. Hazel chooses to dress like the protagonist of his novel An Imperial Affliction, Anna. They don't get a very warm welcome, as Van Houten doesn't seem happy to have them there and tells his assistant to tell them to leave immediately. However, she convinces him to let them stay on account of Hazel's cancer and the fact that they came all the way from Indiana for this moment. Van Houten is quite obviously a drunk and refuses to tell them of the fate of any characters of AIA, save for the hamster. He dismisses all of Hazel's other questions and refuses to answer even when she gets extremely worked up and angry at him. He continues to insult her and her cancer and finally Hazel tries to physically attack Van Houten but Augustus leads her outside before she can. He promises that he will write an epilogue for her and that it will be better than anything Van Houten could write. Van Houten's assistant then offers to take them to the Anne Frank house. Hazel and Augustus both have some difficulty with the stairs, but they both make it to the top and have their first kiss in a room full of strangers after Hazel decides that it's okay to kiss Augustus in the Anne Frank house because Anne Frank kissed someone in the Anne Frank house. The two go back to their hotel room and after a quick timeskip Hazel leaves a venn diagram on Augustus's nightstand that looks something like this (yes, this picture is in the book itself):

In chapter 13, they tell Hazel's mom about what happened with Van Houten and then Hazel and Augustus get some more time alone, but all Augustus wants to do is talk. He says that he had a PET scan while Hazel was in the ICU and that (this is painful to even type oh my gosh) he "lit up like a Christmas tree". His osteosarcoma has returned. Stage IV, terminal. It's spread to his hip, his liver, his chest, and various other places. Augustus promises to fight it for her and tells her that the reason he was fighting with his parents before leaving for Amsterdam was because he had to go off of chemotherapy to go to Amsterdam. Hazel tries to reassure him that he will get his epic battle, his reason for living, but Augustus won't accept that cancer is a heroic way to die.

In chapter 14, they return home from Amsterdam. They get champagne on the airplane as a cancer perk and Augustus has to sleep for most of the trip because of the pain from the cancer. When they return home, Hazel and her dad talk about how the universe just wants to be noticed and about AIA. Hazel begins her routine of hanging out with Augustus most of the time at his house as he goes through typical cancer treatment. Isaac comes over, too, and they discuss Monica and how she shouldn't have dumped Isaac. They then go and egg Monica's car because she deserved it. Hazel takes pictures, including the last picture she ever took of Augustus.

In chapter 15, Hazel and Gus have dinner with all of their parents. Hazel and Gus continue to talk about Amsterdam, which confuses their parents slightly. The next week, Gus ends up in the ER, but Hazel isn't allowed to see him because their family wants it to be family only. She ends up sitting in the waiting room just worrying about him. Two weeks later, they return to the park where Gus asked her to Amsterdam. He says that he now imagines himself as the skeleton, not the kids climbing on the skeleton sculpture. They drink champagne from Winnie the Pooh cups. It's quite possibly their last date.

Well, this section was immensely sad. Sorry about that. I'm not even going to try to say happy reading this time because it just gets worse.


TFiOS Passages!

Hey, everyone! So this week I've got to bring y'all some passages from chapters 11 through 17.  First though I'll just very quickly summarize what happened.  They went to Amsterdam, Van Houtan's a d***, Hazel and Augustus made out in the Ann Frank house, they bumped uglies in Gus' hotel room, Augustus has cancer again.  Finally, I'm extremely tires so I think this time I'll just stick to one passage per chapter, that's what? 7 passages? Yeah that's fine.

(Pg 162-163) "'Okay,' he said. 'Okay,' I said."
So this is a very short simple quote, but you guys need to recognize just how important this word is to them.  If you flip back a ways through your book you'll see that they use this word to symbolize the cliche "I'll love you forever and always until my dying days blah blah blah..."  So something you might want to think about, keeping this in mind, is why at that exact moment would they say this?

(Pg. 188)  "'The important thing is not whatever nonsense the voices are saying, but what the voices are feeling.'"  Okay so some of you might be mad at me for quoting such a terrible man, but realize that his character is amazing in making you think that he's a terrible man, kudos John Green.  Anyways, this one isn't necessarily connected to the book, however I wholeheartedly agree with this, not just in music (although I am so passionate about feeling the music rather than hearing the words) but in all literate conversations.  We all have the capacity to lie, or to just avoid the truth, to not say exactly what we're feeling, but if you just tune out the words themselves and listen to how they're saying these words, you can understand them so much better.  (And, yes, I know that this is the chapter in which Hazel and Augustus do the nasty, however if you want to read about things like that there's a whole dark corner of the internet just waiting to show you all it has to offer)

(Pg 214) "He was stroking my hair. 'I'm so sorry," I said. 'I'm sorry I didn't tell you,' he said..."  Now I'm sure that, without a bit of context, this would be confusing.  This was when Gus told Hazel that his cancer came back, that he (and a lot of other people) had know about it since Hazel went into the ICU.  However once he tells her this, one of the first things she says is "I'm sorry."  Why is this important?  Well, she could've been infuriated at Gus, and everyone else who'd known, for not telling her, for keeping her in the dark when the one man she loves is in worse condition than she is.  But instead, all she can think about, at least in this latest section of the book that we've read, is how horrible it must be for him.  I don't want to preach, honestly, but we all need to think about the situations in which we make our own mountains out of someone else's (not a perfect takeaway from the phrase "making mountains out of molehills" I know).

(Pg 225) "'How are they eyes?' 'Oh, excellent,' he said. 'I mean, they're not in my head is the only problem.' 'Awesome, yeah,' Gus said, 'Not to one-up you or anything, but my body is made out of cancer."  Four words; Get friends like this.

(Pg 232)"'You know we love you, Hazel, but right now we just need to be a family.  Gus agrees with that. Okay?' 'Okay,' I said.  And who do you think Hazel was actually saying "Okay" to? HmmMmMmmMMMmM?

(Pg 236)  "Gus squeezed my hand. 'It is a good life, Hazel Grace.'"  Now why of all times would he decide to say this?  Not when they were having that beautifully romantic dinner, not after they fell into each other (and back out.... and back into...), but when he is in the late stages of a very nasty cancer that could take him at any moment right after talking about the fact that he's dying.

Ohhhh no, this last chapter is just fighting and hurt and I'll be taking no part in it thank you.

But I'll see you all next week! In our final blog post EVER LoL (lots of love)

Week 7 Discussions! (Audrey)

Hey everyone! It's week 7 of 8 already, and we're getting to the really good but also sad part of the book ohmygooooood the book is going to come to a close soon. So, let's discuss chapters ten to fifteen!

  • What do you guys think of Hazel's t-shirt-- "C'est ne pas une pipe"-- and how she connects the same idea that it's merely a representation of the pipe, not the pipe itself, to An Imperial Affliction?
  • What is going through Hazel's mind when Augustus reveals that his cancer has returned? Since this makes Augustus a "grenade" now, how do you think she is taking the information and the sudden switch in relationship roles (as Hazel was previously the grenade, and now Augustus is.)?
  • What is the significance of the "Funky Bones" structure in the park? Did you realize what it meant in the beginning of the book? How do Hazel and Augustus look at them differently after all that has happened?
That's all I've got for tonight. Looking forward to next week! (hahahaaanonotreallythisbookispain)

Week 6 Passages - Kathy

I'm here to bring you through some important passages from chapters 6 through 10 of The Fault in Our Stars. :)

Passages I found interesting/symbolic/important:

Then I found myself worrying I would have to make out with him to get to Amsterdam, which is not the kind of thing you want to be thinking, because (a) It shouldn't've even been a question whether I wanted to kiss him, and (b) Kissing someone so you can get a free trip is perilously close to full-on hooking, and I have to confess that while I did not fancy myself a particularly good person, I never thought that my first real sexual action would be prostitutional.
 This reveals so much about Hazel's character. Her low self esteem is show in the last sentence and her constant worry prevails.

Funny quote to break the tension!
"Oh, my God. I've seen him at parties. The things I would do to that boy. I mean, not now that I know you're interested in him. But, oh, sweet holy Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral."
No commentary needed on this one. It's just thrown in for laughs. :)

"I'm like. Like. I'm a grenade, Mom. I'm a grenade and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?"
My dad tilted his head a little to the side, like a scolded puppy.
"I'm a grenade," I said again. "I just want to stay away from people and read books and think and be with you guys because there's nothing I can do about hurting you; you're too invested, so please just let me do that, okay? I'm not depressed. I don't need to get out more. And I can't be a regular teenager, because I'm a grenade."
This shows more about Hazel's character and her fear of letting people down. It's foreshadowing, but maybe not in the way we expect.

On Tuesday, they told me I'd go home on Wednesday. On Wednesday, two minimally supervised medical students removed my chest tube, which felt like getting stabbed in reverse and generally didn't go very well, so they decided I'd have to stay until Thursday. I was beginning to think that I was the subject of some existentialist experiment in permanently delayed gratification when Dr. Maria showed up on Friday morning, sniffed around me for a minute, and told me I was good to go."
This provides a lot of insight into much of Hazel's life so far.

Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves." Easy enough to say when you're a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.
This is where the book gets its title. :)

 It's not that I had some utterly poignant, well-lit memory of a healthy father pushing a healthy child and the child saying higher higher higher or some other metaphorically resonant moment. The swing set was just sitting there, abandoned, the two little swings hanging still and sad from a grayed plank of wood, the outline of the seats like a kid's drawing of a smile.
Hazel's depression seeps through here. She insists that she is not depressed, but she so clearly is, especially in this passage.

 Twelve-year-old leukemic Michael had passed away. He'd fought hard, Lida told me, as if there was another way to fight. Everyone else was still around. Ken was NEC after radiation. Lucas had relapsed, and she said it with a sad smile and a little shrug, the way you might say an alcoholic had relapsed.
The day to day life of cancer patients is depressing.

"Kinda," I said. But it wasn't that. The truth was, I didn't want to Isaac him. "to be fair to Monica," I said, "what you did to her wasn't very nice either." 
 "What'd I do to her?" he asked, defensive?
 "You know, going blind and everything." 

 "But that's not my fault," Isaac said.
 "I'm not saying it was your fault. I'm just saying it wasn't nice."
This is funny, but in a very morbid way.

"I'm in love with you," he said quietly. 
 "Augustus," I said.
 "I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you."
Please think and comment about this quote below - what it means for the plot, for Augustus's character, and for Hazel's character as well as for their relationship.

(not so) Happy reading!

Discussion Leader: Week 6 (I think?!)

Hi guys,
Hope everyone enjoyed their reading for the most part. :) So:

1. At this point do you think Hazel loves Augustus? Do you think she's in denial that she does? Or that she's afraid to love him due to the repercussions of her dying at some point? All of the above? Explain.

2.What is a kiss on the cheek to you? Does it differ based on the person it comes from and also the way they completed the action?

3. What takes place in the Anne Frank house? Why? (This question might be too early, sorry left my book in the car, it's too late to get it)

4. In the section you read, what part of the book spoke volumes to you?

Good Luck guys! Goodnight!

Week 6-Summary (take two) (Audrey)

Hi all! It's been kind of a weird week on account of my week mix-up, sorry about that. I'll just go over everything again, in a bit more detail this time.
Hazel's cancer story isn't very complicated-- she has thyroid cancer that had spread to her lungs. The cancer causes her lungs to fill with water which would kill her over time. In the novel, she's on a clinical trial of a medicine called Phalanxifor that lowers the amount of fluid in her lungs.
Augustus' is similar, he used to play basketball until he learned he had osteosarcomaa type of bone cancer. His leg was amputated and he is cancer-free at this point in the novel. Augustus admits that because of his prosthetic leg, he failed his driver's test three times, but he passed anyways as a "cancer perk", an incentive given to cancer victims out of pity.
Hazel and Augustus trade favorite books. Hazel stays up all night reading The Price of Dawn and buys the next two in the series when she goes out to the mall with Kaitlyn for her thirty-third half birthday. After Kaitlyn leaves, a little girl comes up to Hazel and asks to try her breathing tubes on. Hazel assures her mother it's fine and smiles as the girl thanks her and leaves.
Later, Hazel describes the plot of An Imperial Affliction, a book about a young girl named Anna with bone cancer, her one-eyed mother, and the "Dutch tulip man" whom Anna believes is a con man. Her mother falls in love with the Dutch tulip man and starts to test a treatment for the cancer when the book ends mid-sentence. She talks to Augustus, who is riveted with the book and continually asks spoiler-esque questions about the book, much to Hazel's amusement. As they're talking Hazel hears someone sobbing on the other line, and Augustus explains Isaac was having a breakdown. Hazel drives to Augustus' house to help comfort him.
Isaac rants about the futileness of life and death and basically has an existential crisis about suffering and loss. Augustus encourages him to throw/break some of his possessions to make him feel better, which Isaac does until he wears himself out, collapsed on the floor.

Connections! (By Scottayyy)

Oh, the feels! Oh, the absolute feels!!!

So, this week I'm here to make some connections from chapters 6-10.  (Oh, and I think that one of my jobs as the "Connector" entails me connecting things in the book to real world events, however I am unaware (and honestly don't care enough) of such events to do so, so I'll simply continue doing as I was taking the form of most relate-able comedians ("If I had a nickle for every time...")

(Pg. 91) Now, I don't know how many of you have had cancer and then were offered the trip of a lifetime and all you needed was your parents consent because you were, at the time at least, a minor.  But there will always come an occasion when something so spectacular could happen to you, and all you needed was just one "yes" from your parents, teacher, boyfriend, girlfriend, (I could go on all day listing things so I'll just say ) etc. and what they give you isn't a "yes" or a "no," instead they remove the responsibility from themselves onto someone else.  Not fun.

So, I'm not gonna recap all of the family drama from pages 98-99, but all I wanted to point out is that I've had my parents complain that they want me to speak out more about myself, at least to them, to be more "teenagery" and the one time I finally do, my mother gets upset with me and gave me this look that seemed to be saying "Oh my God, why are you acting like this? I didn't do anything, what's your problem?" I'd be surprised if someone told me they haven't experienced this.

(Pg. 101-102)  You don't need to be in a (cancerous) relationship to read through this text conversation and not go "Awwwwwww." Because, come on guys, that was adorable.  We may not all have a Gus Waters in our lives,someone who understands that there's pain in your life and chooses not to run from it, but to it because he knows it will make you happy even for a moment, but if you do know someone even remotely close to that, don't let them go.

The next chapter (chapter 7) is just Hazel having a literal brain meltdown from lack of oxygen and wishes she was dead.  Gus comes and stays at the hospital waiting room until he knows she's okay, blah blah blah, yes it's all very sweet but (at least for me) not very connection heavy.

(Pg. 117)  Again with the parents!  Even though Dr. Maria said it's up to Hazel whether or not she goes to Amsterdam, but really it was up to her parents who said no because one of the other doctors said no.  Don't get me wrong, I'd be pissed off too if that was me, however what we need to realize is that they care so much for their daughter that they need 100% safety approval for something like this.  Put yourself in their shoes, would you send your cancer infested child on a trip to another country if there was a maximum 80% guarantee of their safety? If you just said "yes," then you sir/madam must rethink taking on the role of parenthood.

Okay so, this is just a comment on the story itself.  Unlike the rest of my fellow bloggers, I have yet to actually finish this book, so I DON'T KNOW HOW IT ENDS.  And as I read that small paragraph on page 128, all I could think was "Oh that one author guy is probably gonna say some s*** like 'There are no answers, my dear!  You the reader are supposed to leave then ending to your own imagination!'" or something like that.... I can't be the only one who thought that?

Like chapter 7, chapter 9 was really great to read, but I didn't find much that I could relay to y'all as far as relations to life are concerned.

(Pg. 137-138)  God, I love going off on random tangents like the scrambled egg dilemma.  And sometimes we all need to think about things as irrelevant as that.  Just to get away, even for a moment, from all of the horrible things (from your perspective) we go through each day.

(Pg. 144) Oh my god, if you see someone carrying around an oxygen tank or they have fake limbs, DON'T STARE AT THEM.  First off, it's just plain rude to stare at anyone, second if you want to see people with fake limbs and oxygen tanks, there's this awesome thing called Google.

I'd like to think of chapter 10  as a date between the two of them.  No, it wasn't the most romantic thing in human history, but they got to see new sides of one another (emotionally you sick o's) and shared small but very meaningful pecks on the cheek.  Like most cases in these books, I'd be surprised if any of you have experienced these things exactly as they were written, however I'd also be surprised if you said you'd never experienced this kind of a date.  It can't be this big extravagant super expensive dinner and going to see cirque du soleil.  It can't. It's just this simple, not even a date, date that means the most.

And I'm so tired right now that I can't even begin to describe it to y'all so I'm gonna say "Goodnight fellow patrons of the world," and have a wonderful week.

Discussing Okays, Cigarettes, and Grenades

Hey loves,
 We've begun reading...

Here are some questions to think of after you read:

1. What do you think of Hazel and Augustus's "okays"?
2. Do you think Hazel loves Augustus? Is she afraid of something? If there is, what is something subconsciously bothering her?
3. What other meanings are there behind Augustus' metaphor?
4. Is Peter Van Houten right? Is time a slut? Does it screw everyone? What is your experience of such a statement? What to you think the phrase means for them? Does it truly apply to them? How so?
5. Hazel explains she's a grenade, would you have feelings like hers? What do you think Augustus thinks of her words?
6. BONUS: How would you feel as a friend of someone like Hazel, or put in Augustus' shoes?


Week 5 Connections - Kathy

Hello everyone! This week we read the first five chapters of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, thus beginning the second part of this blog project. I'm here to bring relevant real life connections. This post may not be as long as my connections post for LFA was, but we'll see. :)

Right off the bat, we get Hazel's diagnosis with depression. For me, this hits home. "Late in the winter of [her] seventeenth year" would be February or March, and she would be sixteen (in your first year, you're zero, etc.) I was diagnosed with depression in the past couple of weeks, or late in the winter of my seventeenth year, and I know that this is a huge connection to real life for many people.

Cancer is a huge theme and it affects one in three of Americans, so statistically you or someone you are very close to has been affected by cancer. If not, consider yourself lucky.

Hazel establishes herself as very critical of religion with her criticism of support group and the assumption that praying to God will fix anything. Many of us have gone through times like this - everything seems so grim that religion seems like a fraud entirely. As well, she criticizes the idea of Support Group in general. I can understand this. After a while, the motivational BS you get even just as a regular teenager gets entirely ridiculous. I can only imagine how bad it must be for Hazel.

"There is only one thing in this world shittier than biting it from cancer when you're sixteen, and that's having a kid bite it from cancer." This establishes the pain of death but also the pain others feel when you die, especially if you die young. I haven't personally experienced this, but I have friends who have and family friends who have lost children to cancer and other diseases. My grandma lost a daughter to cystic fibrosis and it was harder on her and my grandpa than on anyone else.

"A nonhot boy stares at you relentlessly and it is, at best, awkward and, at worst, a form of assault. But a hot boy...well." So many girls I know think like this. While I can't relate - as I honestly don't judge guys based on their looks; it just doesn't happen with me - I get the general concept and it's extremely relateable.

Augustus's fear of oblivion is something I experience on a regular basis, but I also experience Hazel's response - knowing that one day we will all be dust. And that thought is comforting. However, I do fear not making a mark, not making a change, dying a lowly death - this is a recurring theme both in this book and everyday life.

Ironically, Hazel's deep connection with An Imperial Affliction is something I experience with John Green's novels, especially Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, although I often do "preach" about their greatness if only because I hope others will find the same solace I do.

Okay, I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but Isaac and Monica's make-out session against the side of a church is something I entirely understand. My boyfriend and I had our first kiss at a church camp. You realize you're in a place of worship, but you honestly just don't care. And that's very relateable, especially since Isaac has little time left with his eye.

Hazel's instant connection with Augustus is something I am lucky to have experienced. The mental connection in which she knows that he wrote his number in the book he gives her, their mutual understanding of each other, etc. is something I have experienced with my boyfriend for years and I've experienced other couples with the same "mental synchronization".

Hazel's aversion to death and counting exactly how many murders are committed in the book she reads is something I would definitely do, being as nonviolent as I am.

"Kaitlyn had the kind of packed social life that needed to be scheduled down to the minute." While this seems a little extreme, I have friends like this. Actually, Kaitlyn reminds me strongly of Autumn, especially with some of the interactions they have. They're friends, but it's just a little bit off due to mixed interests. No offense, Autumn - Hazel and Kaitlyn are still friends, and so are we.

Hazel had a bad lecturer at one point in her 20th Century American Poetry class, something that I'm sure many college students can easily relate to.

Augustus freaks out over the end of An Imperial Affliction, which is very similar to what I did at the end of this book when I read it the first time.

Isaac's need to break something during the Night of the Broken Trophies is something that I, among every other member of my family, have experienced in times of severe emotional distress. Augustus and Hazel do everything they can to help, but there is truly nothing until the pain has been felt.

The invisible third space Hazel feels when she's on the phone with Augustus is dead on. I feel that all the time when I Skype with my boyfriend or call a friend I'm close to. You're physically at home, but you feel like you're with them in some strange third space.

Augustus's "grand romantic gesture" with taking her to the park and making all things Dutch in order to ask her to the Netherlands is something many girls dream about and few experience. It's a running theme among books, romantic movies, and the general idealization of a relationship. Unfortunately, most boys are not Augustus, nor are they any other romantic hero. And, in a way, neither is Augustus.

That's all for this week. Happy reading!

Week 6? Summary (Audrey)

Hi all,
Before we start, I need to say some stuff about the project as a whole. Baker, it's an awesome idea, but we definitely need to organize these posts because this is definitely not working. Or at least it needs better organizing, one a singular book, because this is driving me crazy.
On to the summary!!
In chapters 2 to 4 (if I'm reading this right-- Kindle pages are a bit different than physical ones) Hazel visits Augustus' house to watch V for Vendetta (excellent movie, btw) and takes an interest at his parents calling him Gus. She likes the idea of one person having two names, one of the reasons Augustus calls her Hazel Grace.
Hazel recalls her cancer story as Augustus recalls his, and both involve long extensive medical histories and "cancer perks" that are given to them out of pity. Hazel and Augustus trade favorite books-- She gives him An Imperial Affliction and he gives her The Price Of Dawn. Hazel meets with her friend Kaitlyn at the mall, and Hazel buys the two sequels to the book Augustus gave her.
In chapter four Hazel summarizes An Imperial Affliction and explains that it ends in a cliffhanger, literally mid-sentence with no solid closing. Later on, she goes and meets up with Augustus and a recently-dumped Isaac at Augustus' house. They discuss the futileness of sacrifice through the video game they are playing, and Isaac snaps. Augustus encourages him to break things to make himself feel better.
Until next time!

TFOS: Discussion Leader

Welcome! Welcome! To the 2nd part of this groups blog, where we will discuss John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, a tragic "teen" novel where our main character Hazel, a victim of lung cancer, finds herself in the company of a very dashing cancer survivor, Augustus Waters (or just Gus).  And, without spoiling too much, they go on a very emotionally confusing, almost torturous, experience together.

But I'm not here to summarize!  I'm here to give you all a few questions to think about as you will inevitably reflect on what you've just read.

So there's a lot to discuss in these first few 90 pages, however, I'm juts going to try to cover the most important.

1.  In the beginning of the book we find Hazel Grace (yes, I'm going to be calling her that all the time because it's just much catchier than just Hazel) being guilted into going to her cancer support group in the "literal heart of Jesus."  However it is the meeting just after she is really complaining about going that she meets Augustus. For the readers who believe in soul mates, I suspect that Hazel Grace and Augustus would've ended up together regardless of their meeting in the support group that she almost missed.  However, if they'd never met, how different would Hazel Grace's life be without him? Better? Worse?

2. Now, when Augustus invited Hazel Grace over to his place while Isaac was having his break up melt down, even I was feeling the sheer awkwardness of the moment.  However, Augustus was keeping totally cool throughout the whole thing.  What do you think that says about him?  Is it good or bad that he wasn't phased himself at the brokenness of his friend?

3.  So, I've got mixed feelings about Augustus using his Wish to send him and Hazel Grace to Amsterdam.  I mean that's an unbelievably nice thing to do for someone, regardless of you loving them or not.  If someone did something like that for me, on that massive of a scale, I would feel indebted to them forever, and I know that wouldn't be their desired outcome.  I know they'd want me to just be happy that it happened.  Would you say that Gus was too nice, or was he doing what he felt was right?

I know the last time I was the discussion leader I had a lot more questions for you all, but I'm afraid I'm fresh out of ideas this time.  But I'll see you all next week!  Have fun thinking!!

Forgiveness, the Labyrinth, the Great Perhaps, and the Sum of All Our Parts: A Summary

The Colonel, Takumi, and Pudge are moving on to the next stage of grieving. They are becoming more used to the fact that Alaska, unfortunately, has left them. It is less of a shock, and they are coming to terms with the loss, the impact she had on them, and what she has left them with together as a whole. Takumi leaves a note for Pudge confessing that he saw her the night she died as well. He apologizes for letting her go. He didn't know she would really leave. There is some blame for Takumi as well, and they can all share it. Pudge writes his final, answering Alaska's question. The only way out of the Labyrinth is forgiveness. Alaska was so afraid of her mistake of being inactive at the right time, that she became active at all the wrong times, creating an impulsive eccentric Alaska. Pudge explains that he sees this, and for Alaska maybe that's all she could do. But Pudge is going to try to take a different route and continue to survive and search for a Great Perhaps. He explains that he will forget her slowly. But she will forgive him, and he will forgive her for only thinking of herself. But despite that, she loves them all. Because she is not just a body. She is the girl that taught them all something, especially Pudge. Who she taught how to be brave, sometimes. She is her green eyes and curves. She may be recycled through the Earth for all to benefit from. But she couldn't have been because of her mind, experiences, and relationships. "There is a part of her greater than the sum of her knowable parts." The parts no one could see, but things she said to them that stay with her loved-ones forever. Words, experiences, and wisdom, all passed down from person to person. He isn't sure if he believes in an afterlife. Teenagers are energy and energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it changes shape but never leaves. Pudge believes there's another 'Somewhere" out there, he's not sure what it is, but he feels it must be beautiful. Such a place, where the greater parts of people go, that cannot be destroyed. The parts of people that continue to move throughout the world in different forms of words, thoughts, and wisdom.They thrive, in the hearts of those filled with life. They are an energy, within them.


Passages- Week 5 (Audrey)

Hello again! Now that we're finished with Looking for Alaska, it's time to start on the next John Green novel, probably his most popular, the Fault In Our Stars (named for the quote from Ceasar; "the fault, dear brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.")

Passage #1: (pg 3)

Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever , they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.)

A very simple line, but one that holds a lot of weight for the themes in the book. Like John Green's previous books, the work is focused heavily on death, depression, loss, and other common teenage problems that are encountered every day.

Passage #2: (pg. 10)

“There will come a time,” I said , “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”— I gestured encompassingly—“ 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.”

This passage is more wordy, but very important. Hazel talks a lot about death and the inevitability of it. Like I said, it's a common theme in the book. It's a very existential crisis-y point of view, one I think everyone experiences every now and then. The only thing that bugs me about this is that it's very... flowery language for a sixteen year old to have said on the spot. Either this was a slight mishap on John Green's part, or Hazel has been saving this speech and perfecting it for a long time. Thoughts?

Discussion Leader - Part 4, Looking for Alaska

Kathy here to lead discussion about the last part of Looking for Alaska.

  1. Was Alaska's death a suicide? Note that this is not a yes or no answer. You have to give reasons for your answer.
  2. Is 'the labyrinth' a relevant concept in day to day life and how, especially as teenagers? Do you believe that forgiveness is truly the answer?
  3. How does Pudge's character develop as a result of Alaska's death? Is this a coming-of-age novel?
  4. BONUS QUESTION: Do you see any symbolism in the knock knock joke Alaska tells Pudge earlier in the story (the one where she tells him to start it)?

I hope these questions will lead to further insight! Happy reading TFiOS beginning this week!


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