Bottled Stars in The Fault in Our Stars: A Movie Review ofsomesort

I  crawl back to this tiny space I created in the vast multitude of the Interwebs to talk about a movie, and not a book. But dear reader, if you do exist, kindly understand that this movie is important to me because I like John Green and this book too, and I need to talk about this movie.

There’ll be spoilers ahead, movie spoilers, and I’m not going to talk about the plot.

I was not blind to faults of The Fault in Our Stars, tah book: Cancer, being its chosen narrative device, is sure to wring tears out of its reader, no matter how much spin you put into it; it was 25 dead hairs away from being emotionally manipulative, but I loved Hazel and Augustus. I truly, firmly believe that the strength of The Fault in Our Stars is in its characters: John Green created such strong, memorable characters that carried the weight of what was otherwise a Cancer Porn novel.

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I like my heroine plucky with a fondness for dark humor, and I couldn’t believe that my Movie Hazel was watered down–stripped of her spunk, and edging towards a misunderstood, whiny teenager. Book Hazel was dark and a bit angry, which is a twist I liked in John Green’s characterization while Movie Hazel was too, huh, depressed.

I had my misgivings about Shailene Woodley, only because I haven’t seen her in anything before TFiOs and she strikes me as a JLaw redux, but she breathed life (Bad pun, sorry!) into Hazel. I fell in love with her face, “slowly, then all at once” (Sorry! It was there!!) with her barely there make up and nuanced and controlled acting. Woodley, I liked the way you folded and tucked your long legs, and I loved your ugly crying moments; your vulnerability was so tender, that I’ll probably even forgive you for your toned body despite being unable to take a flight upstairs without courting Death.

And of course, there was my adorkablepants, 1.4-legged Augustus Waters—the guy I almost traded my Percy Jackson blackened heart for. Like with Woodley, I knew nothing about Ansel Elgort except maybe that he was really tall and his smile was disarming. Basically, I was predisposed to liking Gus, but I admit that I feared Augustus Waters may only be good on paper, and maybe an irritating, cocky, overtly romantic douchepants in real life. I mean, if someone tells the cigarette in  mouth metaphor to my face, I’d probably snort and roll my eyes at this pretentious prick. My insides squirmed during that scene, and I applaud Woodley for holding her ground and not kicking that gorgeous boy at his shins.

My boy, Elgort, was really charming, and I fought a difficult battle to keep my dignified look as a woman (yesss) of my 20s and not swoon whenever he outwitted our resident smartass Hazel. He stares(d) (gazes? looks lovingly?) well, too. But Elgort couldn’t make me feel his pain. He was guarded, conscious to fully display the downfall of Sick Book Gus. I was bawling and clutching my sheets when Gus plummeted to his darkest pits in the gas station, but Movie Gus struggled to keep his dignity as an actor, and not as a Sick Movie Gus. Woodley was amazing and affecting in portraying her panic and helplessness at saving the love of her life from Cancer and mostly from himself, but that was Gus’s moment. It could be the director’s oversight, but I weep for what could have been a fantastic sobfest, had Elgort been able to tug at my all too willing heartstrings.

I also grieve for the poetry scene in the plane that was cut all together, when Augustus had his big speech about being in love with Hazel and his confession being a shout to oblivion. This is not me being a book-to-film purist, but, hear me out: The moment in book felt raw and honest. Hazel received his confession with an exasperated sigh, and I love, love that Gus could not do anything but to stare at the window and suffer. Their proximity, the forced confinement of the flight,  and timing created a tension that was almost palpable.

Their dinner was a factory for romance—beautiful Amsterdam, beautiful people, beautiful lights, and even bottled stars for minors felt romantic too: This perfect setting sapped the romance of its ardor, and the underlying struggle they both were fighting—you know, the dying ON each other thing. While Movie Confession was, I admit, suited Augustus’s love for the grandeur, I couldn’t help but feel sad for the Flight Confession. But then again, time constraints yadda yadda, I understand. Don’t mind me.

*sigh*

The movie was not without its strong supporting cast: Nat Wolff (Isaac) was refreshing to watch, and he only made me more excited for the Paper Towns movie in the works. You will be fantastic as the dogged, stubborn Quentin, and I will root for you, you charming blind boy.  Laura Dern’s (Hazel’s mom) wild eyes every time she looked at Hazel bothered and suffocated me, which I’m pretty sure meant she did a great job at portraying Hazel’s mom, but, you know, annoyed me. (You get me, reader, right? Right?) Sam Trammell’s (Hazel’s Dad) quiet, reassuring beats as Hazel’s caring, awkward Dad were affecting, especially at the airport arrival scene which had me tearing up a bit. Willem Dafoe played (The) Peter Van Houten to the hilt, the frustration Hazel and Gus were feeling towards him became contagious to the audience–I wanted a Scotch for myself just to throw it at his face.

Worth noting though: It was almost comical that the title was not explained in the movie, which actually came from one of Van Houten’s letters philosophizing (the story does a loooot of this) Hazel and Gus as lovers, and how, “the fault, dear Brutus, was not in our stars; but in ourselves.”

Through all the nitpicking that I did, it may be hard to believe that I did like the movie. My favorite scene has to be Isaac Hulk Smashing Gus’ trophies and thrashing his room, while the two love sick (This movie review is full of bad puns!) teenagers were flirting. It was funny and clever; the disparity between the two unfolding stories, Isaac’s heartbreak (wonderfully played, Wolff) and the blossoming romance of Hazel and Gus, was the book’s dark humor at its best.

I also found its ending of Hazel and Gus’ “Okay? Okay.” better fitting than the book’s “I do.” And I believe that John Green would approve. Right? Right. (I found my Always? Always! too! I only need someone to… Right.)

And talk, I did. It was still magical to find an almost faithful movie adaptation of an important book in my life, especially from the tragedy of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and the murder that was Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters (May the Percy Jackson movie franchise rest in peace. Please.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie adaptation still tops my very short list, but I am still grateful for The Fault in Our Stars movie, for that “little infinity” in my hopefully not numbered days of watching book-to-film adaptations.

 

** I watched The Fault in Our Stars on 2 June at the press screening, Glorietta 4. Thanks to my awesomesauce office mates. I will watch it again tomorrow, sans expectations but with my heart on my sleeves~

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To Love The Lies of Locke Lamora

My love for A Gentleman Bastards sequence springs from my bookish friends who ignore my mounting pile of to-read books at home and on my office table, and keep shoving good books to my face faster than we both know I consume them.

I delved into The Lies of Locke Lamora from the prodding of my office mate, and to satiate my newly born hunger for fantasy novels. Much as I was eager for this book, it took me quite a number of pages before I fully wrapped my head around Scott Lynch’s medieval setting, but that was most probably because my imagination lacks Auto-Renaissance setting (which I am dealing with by expanding~ my book realms). By then, I felt Camorr pulsating under the fingertips; its characters, along with their hearts, bursting from the pages. So much heart do the Gentleman Bastards pack that I too formed a new Locke Lamora blackened heart beside my many other fictional blackened hearts.

Much of the strength of its novel was from its lively characters. I like my heroes impulsive, sensitive, and smartasses, but I really want them to be honest. Locke I dare say, might have been misguided, but had his heart lie where it should count. It was impossible not to to have them endeared to me or to root for them, especially when they have the charming, manipulative, smart Locke Lamora as their leader. I made several fist pumps (some, embarrassingly made in public) every time my boys bested anyone, mostly through their wits.

This, barring my questionable morals though. *scratches head* But let’s not go there.

Of course, there was tragedy. In my head, I was gripping the pages of my metaphorical copy and hurling it against the wall because it was cruel at some point, and then I would bang my metaphorical head against the wall because I recognize it as a significant plot point as it moves the story along, but my heart still hurt.

Okay, I was a little placated(!!?) by the bromance. This girl loves me some bromance, sure, especially when peppered with conning and outsmarting aristocrats, cannibal sharks and/or/sometimes with people, promises to hold until death, and half-assed declarations of love laced with life threats. Basically, I’m in this for some killer bromance, a little too true to the word.

THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA, SCOTT LYNCHI’m still waiting for same publisher version of The Republic of Thieves, Lynch’s third installment, to come to my shores before I buy both copies. Huh, book series always a test of EQ.

A tiny peeve though: While Lynch’s Interludes in every chapter almost always annoyed me for interrupting the present, I recognize its narrative purpose, to the strategic cutting off of the momentum of the story, but it was a test of my EQ not to skip these pages and run off to the next chapter. I was told that Lynch maintains this writing style(?) for the rest of the series, so I shall hold to my patience dearly.

Ehem.

Before I get myself incriminated from some future crime, I suggest you get yourself a copy, and let us form a little group of sumthin sumthins. If you need more convincing, here is the review of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Patrick Rothfuss, author of Kingkiller Chronicles, which, I should soon get my grubby hands on.

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A Happy (Camp-Half Blood) Camper on The House of Hades

I have so much to say, more professions to make on The House of Hades, which may just be my favorite Percy Jackson book evarr.

ImageOy, Riordan, you silly. I  hate love you, too.

My Percabeth sailed to the depths of Tartarus because, well, they’re Percabeth. Duh. They’re THE power couple of contemporary Greek mythology, and they’re so cool they could have a date in the deepest, darkest, most harrowing part of the Earth and still stir Feelings and Love (and Jealousy! I LOVE YOU PERCY. TRULY.) I especially like that Riordan’s reimagined Tartarus did not only contain Evil, but there also misery, anger, and loneliness, which I find fitting if you were to recreate a place so horrible, you must really hurt everywhere; your insides and heart included.

[Annabeth] didn’t want to sleep, but her body betrayed. Her eyelids turned into lead. “Percy, wake me for second watch. Don’t be a hero.”
He gave her that smirk she’d come to love. “Who, me?”

Of all these creatures made from the Bad Thought of every person/demigod/god (man, this list could go on and on), my favorite characters were the Arae that let Percy and Annabeth feel the same pain they inflicted on another creature. They brewed an interesting conflict in me: I hate that, and hurt when, Percy was in pain, but man, Riordan (re)created the Arae in such brilliant way that I thought, “But BB Percy, they have a point. You let them feel this way.” I was actually cheering both sides on. Huh.

This among a whole slew of battles all book long, but I enjoyed the little, insignificant conflicts inside me because at least, my heroes are safe in my head. And in my heart.

On the other side of the Earth was Jason and his gang of ADHD demigod friends. Jason never had my heart despite being Tin’s Obvious Preferred Male because he’s straight-laced and his sense of humor is off, but in The House of Hades, he finally tugged at my Percy Jackson Blackened Heart. I always thought that Jason lacked character development; it felt like the exploration of his character hinges upon Just Being a Son of Zeus, but it took me four books to finally see him: the burden that he carried by being the Son of Zeus and how he heroically failed to live up to the standards he set for himself. It was a nice arc, seeing how Jason stepped up and claimed his spot as an equal of Percy.

Acceptance. The House of Hades was about these little puppies accepting that they had a Herculean task at hand, yet again, (Not that I’m complaining, though! I lurve you Riordan.) and acknowledging, and working around, their limitations. This fuzzy theme brought us to Riordan’s Big Character Reveal. Okay, there’s no way to talk about this without giving spoilers so skeddadle to your empty, sad space if you haven’t read The House of Hades yet because I’m going to tell you how much I love that Nico di Angelo is gay.

While it was not explicitly stated that he was a homosexual that is attracted to a male, but it was there, warming our cold, beaten hearts. Thanks to the incessant prodding of Cupid who churn a love quote after another, Nico admitted having a crush on Percy and I was a happy (Half-Blood) camper. Also worth noting: How much do I love that Cupid is cynical about love! I mean, Hah.

“Oh, do you expect me to play fair?” Cupid laughed. “I am the god of love. I am never fair.”

I always thought that Riordan wanted us to find a part of ourselves in these characters that he created, and then, there was Nico. His parentage was enough to set him apart from, huh, everyone, and he was basically an old soul. He was a character so awesome with his powerz over the deadz, but terrifying as well. He was ambitious, but he preferred to stay at the shadows of Percy Jackson. All for his love. I mean, WHY ARE YOU NOT MELTING! HAVE YOU NOT HAVE A HEART.

“I had a crush on Percy,” Nico spat. “That’s the truth. That’s the big secret.”

EEEEK! Giggle giggle!

Likewise, I find this particular reveal really important since his books are classified as Children’s books, for those Middleschool and establishing the foundation of their individuality. I find it significant and brave to broach this topic. Riordan was really careful and skillful on treading these sensitive waters, especially with parents who are slightly being, well, oversensitive with the spew of YA books with once-taboo topics. (I’m looking at you Eleanor and Park ban-ners.) The word homosexual or gay was never mentioned in the story, and granted, should Riordan lose his er, courage, he could make the worst twist by putting “It was just a crush! Maybe a phase!” but it was there: Nico likes Percy .

I do hope, good Sir, that you’d stick to your guns!

I’m not saying that we should all be gay, and I’m not saying either that liking another person of the same sex is bad, hell no, but just, there are people who will eventually find themselves liking someone they think they aren’t supposed to like, and it is always a struggle to accept it at first.

This made Jason’s sturdy, very likable, and almost inflexible character the best support and perfect foil for Nico, who was barely coming to terms with his gender. He might have a long way to go and the denial phase might be endless, but having found a friend who did not judge him and wordlessly accepted him like it was not a big deal, should be a big step for Nico. Also, I will try my very best to send Nico a truckload of hugs that should last him a fictional lifetime. Hells of Tartarus, I’ll hug them all until they get through The Blood of Olympus.

I loved that, as action filled as the penultimate book to Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series was, it also packed us a whole picnic bunch of heartwarming character moments, as we unraveled more layers of our favorite heroes. Much as it agonizes me to wait for another year to finally see the end of the battle (OR IS IT REALLY ENDING because Riordan said there’s still a possibility for moar Percy Jackson), I shall sit myself in a corner and rock myself back and forth while I digest the thought that I will be bidding another goodbye to Percy Jackson in one last book, coming on October.

ImageI brought The House of Hades to Percy’s turf! (Photo taken at Potipot Island, Zambales)

 Let’s keep our hearts still and pretend we’re not alive while we wait for The Blood of Olympus, eh?

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Eleanor and Park (and My Feelings), Rainbow Rowell

1.

“…Tell us, why has Romeo and Juliet survived for four hundred years?”
Park hated talking in class. Eleanor frowned at him, then looked away. He felt himself blush.
“Because…” he said quietly, looking at his desk, because people want to remember what it’s like to be young? and in love?”

I turned 23 this year, gained another year of experience and wisdom, and moved farther away from my youth. Eleanor and Park took me a few steps back to my young life; its protagonists, Eleanor who was fat, weird, and “looked like art,” and Park, my lovely, lovely boy Park, starred in my could have been dorky love story and wrung my heart out.

Rainbow Rowell’s first Young Adult offering received a shiny, shimmering, splendid review from John Green. Needless to say, the whole YA world is abuzz with Rowell’s high school love story set in the 80s.

It didn’t break new grounds. It talked about the universal story of first love, and it was tempting to dismiss Eleanor and Park as just another one, and well, it was. But Rowell did not make a cookie-cutter couple: She introduced characters with so many layers, it was impossible not to be endeared to them, feel with them, and believe in, and with, them.

2.

Eleanor. He was still holding the end of her scarf, rubbing the silk idly between his thumb and fingers. She watched his hand.
If he were to look up at her now, he’d know exactly how stupid she was. She could feel her face go soft and gummy. If Park were to look up at her now, he’d know everything.
He didn’t look up. He wound the scarf around his fingers until his hand was hanging in the space between them.
Then he slid the silk and his fingers into her open palm.
And Eleanor disintegrated.
Park. Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something so complete, and completely alive.
As soon as he touched her. he wondered how he’d gone by this long without doing it. He rubbed his thumb through her palm and her fingers, and was aware of her every breath.

Time dilutes intensity; that, up there, was the youth I miss.

I basked in Eleanor’s and Park’s rediscovery of hand-holding. Rowell let me marvel, once again, at the beauty of holding another person’s hand, and it was beautiful how Rowell made such mundane, almost ordinary scene into a spectacle of Feels.

The writing of Eleanor and Park was not the most eloquent I have read, but Rowell chose comic- and music-sharing to bring together Eleanor and Park. It hit a sweet, sore spot that I long for, all because in our contemporary timez, this seemed nearly lost (Just nearly because HOPES!!) among everything electronic.

I gushed with Park when he noticed Eleanor’s effort to protect her borrowed comic if it was his life she was holding. Well, I was bit annoyed when she kept repeating “perfect Asian kid” but that’s for later.

3.

Eleanor. You couldn’t not notice the bruise on her face. Or the hickey under her chin. That fuck, that fuck, that fuck.

Eleanor and Park‘s charm was its sweet, love story, brought to life by Rowell’s ability to magnify ordinary moments, but its sparkle was shed off a bit with every issue it attempted to include: There was abusive relationships and fathers, broken families, poverty, machismo, the patriarchal society, bullying, and racism.

I understand that it was necessary to paint the world as judging and meddling as it is, as how it was during the 80s (I know nothing about the US in the 1980s so don’t trust me fully on this.), but I felt like Rowell barely scratched the surface of too many areas, opened and inflicted too many wounds, but never thought of giving or even pointing to where the medicine was.

When it went to the Dark Side, it plunged, head on, into a dark hole. The reveal of the culprit of Eleanor’s nasty notebook vandals was chilling and devastating. I hugged myself and savored this twist (really, I didn’t see this coming) all by my mean lonesome. It did drive the point that society is evil, and if I could, I’d stab it to death except that I’d die too in the process.

There was a lot of ugly crying. While I held this book to my chest, I wanted to hurl it at the wall, too. It ripped my heart out, for all the world to see and poke fun at, because, huhu, I hurt and feel for Eleanor and Park.

There came a point when I wanted to hunt Rainbow Rowell and demand my happy ending, because Eleanor and Park deserve it and I need it. You can pretty much picture me at the end of the book, wailing to Rowell “Where is my happy ending!?” in between sobs.

4.

“I’m sorry about yesterday,” she said.
He hung on to his straps and shrugged. “Yesterday happens.”

As much as it pains me, an “I am sorry” note felt like a more organic end (I weep!) for Eleanor and Park. I would have wanted for my sweet boy Park to have his closure: a bittersweet, still tearful (and there was thrashing and cursing and ugly crying again and again) goodbye.

I found and left a part of me tucked in the pages of Eleanor and Park. I, too, was once in love; once “marveled at how long had I lasted without holding his hand;” once kissed I “wasn’t scared of doing it wrong;” and once had “my favorite person of all time” and lost it.

I held out until the end, withstanding Eleanor’s running away, and heart, in my throat (My heart was everywhere! I tell you!). If I could, I would put Eleanor and Park’s fictional love story in a fictional protective bubble and watch its fictional blossoming. What my barely adult self could muster, I would let them love and stop society from meddling and darkening their young hearts. BUT I AM NOT FICTION HUHU (Am I not? Really?).

Like going through a rainbow (rowell? hehe my puns are puny not funny) and find a mean leprechaun stealing my pot of gold: All I had was that rainbow ride to last me until I find a new book I’ll love and hate. Or a person. Whichever comes first.

Eleanor and ParkBorrowing from The Weepies’ Painting by Chagall, I thank you, Eleanor and Park, for reminding me of “the quiet intensity, of people like us, wakeful dreamers.”

ALSO while we’re at this schmeezy, schmeelings, Feels business, you, dear reader, should run to the nearest local bookstore and buy Mikael de Lara Co’s first book of poetry, What Passes for Answers. Why? Because it will tell you about “(On) the Necessity of Sadness” then your Feels will be eternally grateful.

What Passes for Answers, Mikael de Lara Co“I was already walking through/ the yawning door, towards/ the small necessary sadnesses/ of waking. I wish/ I could hold you now,/ but that is a line that has/ no place in a poem, like the swollen/ sheen of the moon tonight,/ or the word absence, or you,/ or longing.” On the Necessity of Sadness.

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Maybe 1Q84, Haruki Murakami

Let me start this with an epiphany: Rainy days are best with Weird Books.

Roughly 19 months after I received this beautiful hardcover of 1Q84 from my college professor, I unearthed my copy and settled in for the stormy long weekend. I picked up where I left off, the part where the Dowager was explaining the Sakigake to Aomame. I was a few pages shy off Volume Two, but I put it down because the whole cult and Little People backstory bored me. Heh, and I know that that was not an unpopular opinion. Because really, in the middle of it all, wasn’t 1Q84 was a love story between two lonely people?

Okay, maybe you would want virtually stone me to death, but I will be the first to admit that I may have finished the book and yet I have not fully grasped the dohta and maza narrative, because in retrospect, I thought that they played as good narrative devices to bring our protagonists together and to validate their loneliness.

OrmaybeitsbecauseIstillhaventreadGeorgeOrwells1984? AGH I AM EMBARRASSED, OKAY! Maybe I wasn’t its intended reader, because all the brilliance of the parallel, dystopian worlds that Murakami and Orwell created was lost on me, but I did think that it was a good Luv Story.

Right. About this book. Ehem. Did I think it needed to be the monstrosity of 965 pages to tell the otherwise haunting search for True Love? Like I said, I thought the Sakigake, the Little People, and the Dowager’s business made wonderful, pretty strong narrative devices, but the subplot [Dare I call it subplot?] was not as engaging as I wish it was.

But there I was, boring a Tin-shaped hole on my bed and reading through this book with a plot that just won’t freaking unravel (already!!) and I was actually enjoying it.

Maybe because I could identify best with Tengo because his life is a routine! And! I! love! routines! Murakami even took time to describe every minute detail of how Tengo went by his life and boy did I love it.

Tengo couldn’t sleep. Fuka-Eri was in his bed, wearing his pajamas, sound asleep. Tengo had made simple preparations for sleeping on the couch (no great imposition, since he often napped there), but he had felt not the slightest bit sleepy when he lay down, so he was writing his long novel at the kitchen table. The word processor was in the bedroom; he was using a ballpoint pen on a writing pad. This, too, was no great imposition. The word processor was undeniably more convenient for writing speed and for saving documents, but he loved the classic act of writing characters by hand on paper.

The monotony of Tengo’s life was a lullaby to me.

There was a distinct pang of sadness effected by the existence of such passive character. At least, Aomame sought a more active way to channel her loneliness. She had no friends, right, but by killing the male pigs of society, I think it’s safe to say that she, at least, was doing something. Tengo took the passive route by spending each day of his life rather than, you know, actually living it. Between our two protagonists, he wins the Lonelier Award and I love him even though his fictional existence breaks my heart.

Also, I love Tengo’s name because it is the Spanish translation of “I have.” This is classic over-reading, I know, but I thought it was a beautiful coincidence. Or maybe Murakami was poking fun at my intellect? instinct? my far-fetched imagination? Because I read that he likes Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s writing and, you know, Spanish connection. No? Still no? Damnit.

Heh, and then there’s Aomame whose name means beans. As my Prof pointed out, “I have beans.” *giggle giggle*

Did I like it? Of course I liked it, but maybe for the wrong reason. You know how one book may have sucked at the very core, but somehow you will find a piece of yourself in it, then you’ll slowly ease to it? Okay, that read an awful-like bad sex scene, which reminds me that this book has a lot of really, bad, awkward sex. Ehem. Again, well, 1Q84 grew on me. There’s the innuendo again! Sorry.

If kissing is this exquisite though…

Her partially open lips now opened wide, and her soft, fragrant tongue entered his mouth, where it began a relentless search for unformed words, for a secret code engraved there. Tengo’s own tongue responded unconsciously to this movement and soon their tongues were like two young snakes in a spring meadow, newly wakened from their hibernation and hungrily intertwining, each led on by the other’s scent.

Moving on. Right at that moment, it was the book that I needed. I was willing to look past the flaws and indulge in Murakami’s Made-Up World where cats, earlobes, and beautifully shaped breasts are abound. It was fascinating that no matter how surreal his universes are, I could jump right in the Surreal. As if, if I take a wrong turn in the connecting train lines in the metro, I could go out of Cubao Station and discover a sky with two moons. Or can I just meet Tengo? Heh.

Murakami has always had this magical pull when I read him. His type of Weird holds a special place in my heart, because, in an unfathomable reason, when Murakami paints me his world with a talking cat or this time, with two moons, I can suspend my reality just fine and wade through his brand of absurdity.

One problem I have always had with him though is that, after the grandiosity he creates, at the end he often leaves his reader hanging with a bigger question than what the reader had at the start. For that, I am grateful that 1Q84 broke away from his trend, and found its ending fitting to the story and our characters (but still baring that awful sex scene).

When he writes scenes with semblance of reality, they were beautiful. When *Spoiler Alert* Aomame and Tengo finally met, he painted such a beautiful image that seared into my head. I was with Tengo when he finally found the relief through the familiarity of Aomame’s hand. It was so good. I was drowning in the intensity of them Feelings!

He was suddenly aware of someone sitting beside him, holding his right hand. Like a small creature seeking warmth, a hand slipped inside the pocket of his leather jacket and clasped his large hand. By the time he became fully aware, it had already happened. Without any preface, the situation had jumped to the next stage. How strange, Tengo thought, his eyes still closed. How did this happen? At one point time was flowing along so slowly that he could barely stand it. Then suddenly it had leapt ahead, skipping whatever lay between.

This person held his big hand even tighter, as if to make sure he was really there. Long smooth fingers, with an underlying strength.

Also, siriusly,  writers making hand holding world shattering, life changing!!

1Q84, Haruki Murakami

Will I read it again? HAHAHA ARE YOU KIDDING ME

Let’s put it this way: This monster of a book holds a significant part of the god-awful phase in my life because it was with me then and it got me back to reading and blogging. But, you know, maybe I’ll give it another shot and look deeper into the story. Though that hand-holding up there and some of his Power Lines I missed because I couldn’t find my pen.

On another note, everyone is a-buzz with Murakami a favorite, again, for this year’s Nobel Prize for literature! Let’s see if his talking cats will claw their way to the top. HAHAHA I’m laughing at the lameness of my pun.

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The Affirmation of my Being a PercaBeth Shipper or a Blog on The Mark of Athena, Rick Riordan

I will be 24 when the final book of The Heroes of Olympus is released, and I still may not have found a Seaweed Brain for myself, by then–but this post is not about my old maid woes or where have I gone in the past x months(!!). This (comeback) post is about Rick Riordan’s much anticipated third installment, The Mark of Athena.

Okay, so maybe a little about me, squealing and squirming.

TMoA did not come short of adventures and monsters. I finished the book approximately half a day. I left my room only to get refill of food and for bathroom breaks, because the pacing was that good. I had a good time chasing monsters with them, too, all the way to Rome!

I have always been excited to read how Riordan will modernize mythological characters and monsters. But since Percy Jackson and the Olympians, I have been on the look out for the most famous demigod of all time, Heracles. In TMoA, he finally (dis)graced us with his presence. I was particularly interested on how Riordan will characterize the hero that was endeared to everyone. No thanks to Disney.

I liked Jeanette Winterson’s version of Hercules in her novel Weight.  If someone can just toss to me that wonderful novel… Anyway, Riordan did not disappoint. I knew Hercules was a jerk: He was too full of himself. Fine, his fate was tragic, but he still he had too much going on and it somehow felt right that he ended up bitter and alone.

Heracles was just one of the terrifying mythological characters that the seven demigods met; TMoA was so a furiously packed adventure that I felt tired after reading it.

It’s worth noting too that, I made a deal with myself to not read TMoA before I finish rereading the The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune–both were really good–which proved to be a great decision, so I could familiarize myself again with the story, and a test of my E.Q. In case you’re interested, I won. Okay.

I anticipated a mix-up of adventures: who fought which monster, which giant was defeated by who, where did who go, who hates who. After all, the seven demigods are finally coming together(!!), and as much as I loved both books, part of the confusion I guess, was due to the lack of character development–to which, The Mark of Athena came through.

It could be because his characters were maturing, but I liked how Riordan explored the depth of his heroes: the cause of their battle, the source of their strength, their ungoldy woes. There was Leo being the seventh wheel, loveless among the throngs of couples (HUHUHU); Frank and his awesome shape-shifting skills but with a life being tied down by a candy-bar sized firewood; Hazel and her guilt and longing to correct her past mistakes; among many others.

I particularly liked how Piper’s character was developed: how she has to deal with being just a daughter of Aphrodite. I never thought that a daughter of the love goddess will be a part of the seven demigods who will save the world, and Piper was weighed down by people who think just like me. Surely, she would feel useless in the face of battle, but somehow, she learned to trust herself, and saved the crew quite a few times. Behold, the power of words (and charms)!

Oftentimes too, the two most powerful demigods, Percy and Jason, were knocked down/defeated, not to mention their egos were crushed and their disappointment were eating them. Jason felt like a  floating powerful demigod to me before, but TMoA endeared him to me. I have come to accept that he was a straight-edge leader, and I was grateful for that. Percy remains my favorite mischievous demigod.

Percy and Annabeth are the only two pioneers in Riordan’s now seven-demigod- pack, and naturally, I have become very protective of them. It’s wrong, I know, but I have invested too much of myself with these two that their development as characters affects me.

Percy, well, he is a special case. I *fell in love* with him since Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and he has finally matured in TMoA. He learned to let go of things he cannot solve; he learned to take responsibilities more seriously; he was uhm more manly with his Lurve for Annabeth–the ever-reliable Annabeth who was burdened to walk alone and retrieve the Mark of Athena that was missing for centuries already.

I was excited for Annabeth. The past two books were cruel to her. While Percy had a vague sense that Annabeth was safe in Camp Half-Blood (While I’m at it, what happened to CHB, anyway?), Annabeth had scoured the world in search of her boyfriend. When they finally got reunited, they had to leave each other to fend off some monsters and attend to their respective quests. It was heartbreaking, a bit.

Although, I do think Riordan should lay off the romance department a little. The scene when Annabeth finally saw Percy, she kissed him and tackled him, was overkill and made me gag. PercAbeth (I have come to this Fan Girl existence. A SHIPPER!!) This says a lot since I really love this couple. Well, except that part where I would want to be Annabeth.

I liked how he explored Annabeth’s feelings the last few moments before she finally saw Percy; her anxieties felt palpable. But a kiss and a tackle? The spectacle was just too much. (Duh, Tin, spectacle nga eh.) I could live with just subtle displays of love–when Annabeth threw her knife at the river, and Percy toppled Octavian with his water powers and his deadpanned “You dropped this.” SQUEEEEEE!!

That’s my kind of romance.

What I did not realize, though, was when Riordan explained how Annabeth and Percy were perfect for each other, Annabeth being the leash that tames the wild, powerful Percy Jackson, it was foreshadowing of the best cliffhanger ending of Riordan. Of course, it makes sense: They have to be together.

It maybe because I’m still miffed at how the 11 year old ADHD, dyslexic boy grew into this man who once saved the world by killing Kronos, and was thrown to another quest to well, save the world again. They are finally growing up. Percy had just gone to literally (of course, in this Universe of Riordan, and mine, too) face the darkest of all places, to Tartarus, for the woman he loves.

This ending actually felt perfect. After closing the book, my mind was reeling for my Seaweed Brain had dropped to the most harrowing pit of the world. I calmed down a bit after realizing that I have a FULL YEAR to wait for The House of Hades.

CRUEL, I tell you.

But I guess waiting is a part of maturity and a show of love, no? (No. Don’t get too A Time Traveler’s Wife on me.)

These covers are pretty handsome, and The Mark of Athena is second best to The Son of Neptune.

Also, I’m taking up an online Greek and Roman Mythology course at coursera.org. You guys can explore the site and enroll for a free class, too! Nope. Not a paid advertisement.

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To live and love vicariously through On Love, Alain de Botton


1. Everyone  has a love story to tell, and while each is beautiful, the skills of its teller magnify the charm of each story.

The longing for a destiny is nowhere stronger than in our romantic life. All too often forced to share our bed with those who cannot fathom our soul, can we not be forgiven if we believe ourselves fated to stumble one day upon the man or woman of our dreams? Can we not be excused a certain superstitious faith in a creature who will prove the solution to our relentless yearnings?

You can imagine me cheering for de Botton after these opening sentences–urging him, challenging him even, to go on: You have a good start, and you better tell me more.

It was a sure way to have me and my psycho-analyzing self engage in a commitment with a novel, and endear myself with its story and characters–to revisit my college room mates, Barthes, Nietzsche, and the others. [Oh gods, how I longed to forget them, only to meet them again in this gorgeous novel and get to know them in a new light.]

2. Alain de Botton skillfully weaves the big wigs in his first book, On Love (The British had it published first as Essays in Love). The charms of this relatively short novel, I highly suspect, came from his ability to make an ordinary love affair of more ordinary couple, to liven with his wit, diagrams, jokes, conversations, and the occasional insights of Wittgenstein, Marx, and the many other tongue-twisting names I still can’t pronounce and spell correctly. It was written in the form of essays, and they resemble some of my college papers, only, he wrote them tons better than I did.

Taken in Potipot Island, Zambales, because I didn’t know any better than
to bring de Botton in an island as beautiful as this story. 

On Love was so small and pretty with its red cover, font, and paper, and ah, tactile romance again, but it was packed with too much of Alain de Botton: of his skills as a good storyteller, of the rawness and intricacies of the often neglected details he chose to elaborate,  and of the universality of his theme. I bought it with me to work, but I felt too exposed when I read it on my way to the office, in the train, or in my work chair. It demanded solitude to fully feel the absurdity, quirkiness, and cleverness of each paragraph.

After the tenth time of telling friends these stories of Chloe at the dry cleaner or Chloe and me at the cinema, or Chloe and I buying takeout, these stories with plot and less action, just the central character standing in the center of an almost motionless tale, I was forced to acknowledge that love was a lonely pursuit.

For all its 194 pages, it took me more than a week to finish reading, because it needed my undivided attention–to enjoy the whirlwind ride with Chloe and her nameless lover/narrator, to savor the beauty of each carefully crafted essay, and to not miss the love lessons de Botton shared.

Unrequited love may be painful, but it is safely painful, because it does not involve inflicting damage on anyone but oneself, a private pain that is as bittersweet as it is self-induced. But as soon as love is reciprocated, one must be prepared to give up the passivity of simply being hurt to take on the responsibility of perpetrating hurt onseself.

Lovers cannot be philosophers for long; they should give way to the religious impulse, which is to believe and have faith, as opposed to the philosophic impulse, which is to doubt and inquire. They should prefer the risk of being wrong and in love to being in doubt and without love.

3. Oftentimes, I found myself exclaiming “That’s me!” or sometimes, “That’s him!” “I’m not alone!” or almost “Hah! I knew that was not crazy.” I fought the urge to put On Love under my pillow and scream, because he, again, hit too close to home.

The most attractive are not those who allow us to kiss them at once (we soon feel ungrateful) or those who never allow us to kiss them (we soon forget them) but those who we know how to carefully administer varied doses of hope and despair.

One has to go into relationships with equal expectations, ready to give as much or the other–not with one person wanting a fling and the other real love. I think that’s where all the agony comes from.

4. Sometimes, I think it’s safer to acknowledge my life as an assimilation of the stories that I read, than to freak out that  my experiences are shared by people across the world, and that they are immortalized through books that are bought and loved by many. My issues with becoming too personal with strangers, and of putting my guard down too long conflict with my goal of finding myself through the books that I read.

Words like “love” or “devotion” or “infatuation” were exhausted by the weight of successive love stories, by the layers imposed on them through the uses of others.

And here lies the danger of such thinking: when things turn sour, what would be left for me to do? Do I continue living vicariously through these characters and wait, with them, for that turn towards the better?

As the plane pierced through the clouds, I tried to imagine a future: a period of life is coming brutally to an end, and I had nothing to replace it with, only a terrifying absence.

It was no longer her absence that wounded me, but my growing indifference to it. Forgetting, however calming was also a reminder of infidelity to what I had at one time held so dear.

 —

5. There are books that you think you should have written, and there are some that you wish you could have written. On Love was one of the latter, and the added phrase can’t.

Alain de Botton wrote On Love while he was at the young years, all the 23 year old  vigor and brilliance of his made this utterly charming book. I am turning 22 in July, and, bah, non-sequitur.

“Lovers may kill their own love story for no other reason that they are unable to tolerate the uncertainty, the sheer risk, that their experiment in happiness has delivered.”

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Anna and the French Kiss, and all her other problems I wish to have

It was one of those days that it was a universally acknowledged truth that I was being pathetic. I knew I needed a lift, so I picked up Anna and the French Kiss from my shelves. I was more than eager to live vicariously through fictional characters in a Young Adult romance, and I was ready to pull girls’ hairs to get to Etienne St. Clair. After all, I read rave reviews on Stephanie Perkins’s novel set in the most romantic city in the world, and I desperately wanted to be charmed by a story of young love. [The  desperate might just be a sign that it was one of those days again.]

Funny story: While I was looking for a copy of this book, I was judged by the many bookstore salesladies I asked for a copy of  Blah blah French Kiss.

So the premises have been laid: I was predisposed to like Anna and the French Kiss due to, ah, emotional distress and while I deal with my 16-year-old-woes, Etienne St. Claire was a very welcome distraction.

The boy was practically genetically or, erm, fictionally made to suit every girl’s fancy. He was part American, part French to account his pretty face, and part British. While reading the novel, I swear I read his lines in my imaginary, perfect British accent. And of course, he has to be a geek, witty, intelligent, funny, and well, he has to have Daddy issues. You know, to steer clear him away from the perfection that–really Perkins–he really was.

And then there was Anna Oliphant. She was sent by her rich father to some school in Paris for a year, and suddenly, everyone’s charmed by her! Every boy in the school, in a relationship or not, wants to be with Anna, and I just did not get it. Her character felt like she was just floating through the narrative, and it felt wrong because the story was told in her perspective. It was like her character was not fully developed, which made her problems sound whiny to me.

The only thing that I liked about her was how she hated the writer in her Dad who made quite a fortune for writing romances in which the partner has contracted a life-threatening disease and then die. I might have a couple of guesses on who her father was, or rather, who Perkins was pertaining to. Charades, anyone?

A couple of weeks ago, my office mate and I were talking how we would kill to have a 16-year-old problems. What more than to have 16-year-old problems of a girl in a first world country? I want to worry about being sent to a school in Paris, hate my Dad for having the riches and getting me what I want, and I want to spend nights thinking of who to pick among the gorgeous boys who like me. Insert smiley.

Before your brows reach skyline, please know that I did not want to have an unpopular opinion on Anna and the French Kiss. Like I said, I was seeking for the solace that YA romances give and the dreamy Etienne and dreamier Paris were the bonusesBut everything felt overworked. It felt too dreamy and perfect.

While I tried to let myself fully be immersed with the story like I usually do, I felt manipulated. Betrayed even. It was not at all realistic, just as people told everyone it was. I was even close to hating myself for not liking a book that a reader like me should like. I used to read Chic Lit, I liked Etienne, I like Young Adult fiction. I like every element of the novel, but gah, it’s frustrating, okay?  I still debate with myself on why I was like this towards this book.

Still, I would not deny that Anna and the French Kiss worked some of its magic on me. After all, I was being mopey and I was creying everywhere and I did need a happy kind of book. I was giggly on the earlier parts of the novel [before I got annoyed at Anna] because Perkins made the perfect gorgeous boy, and no, I don’t have problems with Etienne being too much of everything.

After a few hours, he grows sleepy. His head sinks against my shoulder. I don’t dare move. The sun is coming up, and the sky is pink and orange and makes me think of sherbet. sniff his hair. Not out of weirdness. It’s just… there.

So much for ranting. I can’t believe I have been MIA for months and I come back with this post. I know, I hate my guts, too. Anyway…

Anna and the French Kiss is one of the very few happy books that I own, and there’s a chance that I will give this book another shot. Hopefully, I will not sound like an old, bitter woman with 60 dogs when I return to this post.

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Finding the book to call yours, or a post on Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

A friend gave this book and told me, “This is your book.”

…the thing with your heart’s desire is that your heart doesn’t even know what it desires until it turns up. Like a tie at a tag sale, same perfect thing in the crate of nothing, you were just there, uninvited, and now suddenly the party was over and you were all I wanted, the best gift.

How many times did we tell ourselves that we were not looking for love, but suddenly, we realize that it has been there all long? Or, that it was just next door? Maybe?

There were a million things, everything. I didn’t know. I was stupid, the official descriptive phrase for happy.

“You have never been this happy.” You always tell that to yourself and to the people who patiently listen to you gush. This is a new kind of happy, one that does not feel forced or one that you never sought for. You find yourself smiling at random times of the day, because you remembered that a week ago, he caught you smiling and told you your smile was cute. Then, you wanted to smile always. Just in case he would take a peek at you again.

Ed, it was wonderful. To stutter through it with you or even stop stuttering and say nothing, was so lucky and soft, better talk than mile-a-minute with anyone.

Wonderful might be a weak word to describe how it was to spend time talking, from the minute you wake up to check your phone if he has sent you a message yet, or when you could not sleep and you talk about his hobbies or your dogs. It was wonderful to struggle to find words for a witty retort  or  to mask the elation that you well know will scare the both of you, to ward off the awkward air and stumble together to the familiar and comfortable, easing yourself with his voice, his laughter, and his warmth.

And this note was a jittery bomb, ticking beneath my normal life, in my pocket all day fiercely reread, in my purse all week until I was afraid it would get crushed or snooped in my drawer between two dull books to escape my mother and then in the box and now thunked back to you. A note? Who writes like that? Who were you to write one to me? It boomed inside me the whore time, an explosion over and over, the joy of what you write to me jumpy shrapnel in my bloodstream.

You ran your fingers countless times over  that tiny orange post-it. Here comes another new thing: his handwriting in big, slightly curvy strokes of a little boy, seemingly trapped in adult’s body.  You analyzed the strokes he made, from right to left, which, you later found out, was because he was originally left-handed, but his yaya told him he should write with his right hand. You giggled on the fancy curve of his M, thinking that he put extra effort to make his hand writing more presentable.

“Because I don’t care, virginity, different, arty, weird, parties with bad cake, that igloo . Just together Min.”
“Yes.”
“Like everyone is telling us not to be.”

You felt invincible when you were in love. You thought you knew better. You knew him better. He changed from his womanizing, because you were different and you proved that you were the one he was looking for. You were of a different rank, because he dated cheerleaders but he still  found you interesting. You thought of those times when he stared at you when you did something weird like make a lame joke, and then he would shake his head and smile at you. Because he had enough of made up women in stilettos and he liked girls in beaten up Chuck Taylor and Nirvana shirt.

Take it back, Ed. Take it all back.

And when things turned sour, you realized that you did not want any of these: the fuzzies when you see each other, the nerves while you wait for him in a bar or at the smoking area, the association of a cartoon to his lame excuse for stalking your blog, the thought of having him saved you when you felt bad at work. He could have them all back.

I wish I had Min’s youth when I, uhm, first experienced love, but, alas, I am four years late. With those years come more complexities in relationships and in non-relationships. Why We Broke Up irked many. They said it was a stupid book, and they criticized its Printz Honor. How did they manage to  read that heavy book that made it so hard to read while lying down and not get annoyed of Min’s voice?

It makes me wonder what does it say when I feel that this that book spoke to me could be horrible to some.

I was on the same boat. The angst and pain always got the better part of me, and I forgot the rules on run-on sentences, that I should not have written a paragraph that would cover a page or two, and that I became whiny and annoying to my friends. I did not and am still not tired of stringing words to tell of the same pain while I fumble to find the right words to make sense of things.

It was not one of my proudest moments, but I believe that it was worth sharing.

Everything in this book was beautiful. I was even frustrated while reading the book, and Maira Kalman’s gorgeous illustrations of Min’s trinkets of her first love did not help. I want someone as artsy [Sorry, Min. I know you hate that word.] to illustrate my lame mementos and make them look more interesting than my ordinary, stupid love story.  Her nuances as a character made her raw and genuine.

I hated to know that the story is bound to end up in a hateful manner, which of course, prompted the whole letter turned novel. I stood helpless, unsure if I wanted to save Min from the impending heartbreak, but more leaning towards wanting to salvage their relationship, just like what I want to do with my own (non)relationship.

Happy anniversary, The BiblioPile. It’s been a good year of reading and finding joy, heartbreak, and, consequently myself in beautiful books.

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When my University Professor told me to drop dead, I probably should have [The Fault in Our Stars, John Green]

Back in my Kwentong Popular class in College, we were told to give our pitch for a one-hour screenplay as a course requirement. Mine was about “star-crossed lovers,” who could just not become the couple that they were supposed to be because of what I called destiny.

An acquaintance introduced me to star-crossed lovers, and it gave me the thought that simply when a couple could never find the perfect time to be together, that is, when the female is single and the male is in a relationship or when both are single, but one should leave to pursue a career or has other priorities in mind, we could simply put the blame on the ever-fond destiny. I never resented my professor for telling me that that was not Destiny at work on the failure of the supposed-relationship. They, my/the fictional characters, are given the power, but they choose to not do anything about it, thus blaming it on the stars.

Needless to say, I was told by my professor that what I wanted was a false conflict and that, I should “Drop dead, ghurl.”

Naturally, John Green’s fourth solo novel, The Fault in Our Stars, reminded me of this fond University experience. I initially thought that I may have finally found [Don’t sing.] the heart-wrenching story that we could only blame on the stupid stars for not crossing right.

For the first time, John Green writes in the perspective of a girl, Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16 year old girl who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 13. I was rather excited to know how Green will place himself in the boots of a girl who has her days numbered. Then, we meet the most bankable [WHAT, Tin.] fictional 17-year-old character, Augustus Waters. You do know that I have this tendency to propose marriage to fictional characters. I may have asked Percy Jackson to propagate seaweed brains with me, but Gus is the real deal. He is gorgeous, witty, a nerd of video games, reads books, and, man, he is smarter than me.

Augustus probably speaks wiser than his biological age, and some may have raised their brows at this, but you see, John Green likes writing about smart people and it is one thing that I realized that what I liked him. It gives me the hope [Dear gods, hope and not just illusion] that teenagers still want to prove the world that they are not dumb as we thought of them!

“Right, that’s why I said tomorrow,” he said. “I want to see you again tonight. But I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious,” he said.

John Green has the ability to make the reader invest in his characters.  This maybe his most ambitious novel to date. Not only did he write in a perspective of a girl, but also, he dealt with characters afflicted by Cancer. I may not be the best person to judge if his attempts to mirror the life of a teenager dealing with the traitor disease translate to the reality in TFiOS, but I was moved with the way he portrayed Gus in the height of his disease. I could not or did not stop myself from weeping when I saw teenager Gus become the the helpless, humiliated, and desperate character. His happy spirits got sucked from him, and it was, ahhh, sad.

When I got his face nose-touchingly close that I could only see his eyes, I couldn’t tell he was sick. We kissed for a while and then lay together listening to The Hectic Glow’s eponymous album, and eventually we fell asleep like that, a quantum entanglement of tubes and bodies.

Another thing that made me like John Green is how he puts philosophy in his works. Pudge made a mark on me, quite literal and figuratively, because of his desire to seek The Great Perhaps.This makes the fact that he writes about smart people crucial to exploring the human mind and beliefs. I don’t get the hate on Green writing about smart people. Would you rather read a story with non-thinking characters?

Hazel met Gus in her Cancer support group, where he was asked what is his fear. Without missing a beat, he said, he fears oblivion.

“Sure, I fear earthly oblivion. But, I mean, not to sound like my parents, but I believe humans have souls, and I believe in the conservation of souls. The oblivion fear is something else, fear that I won’t be able to give anything in exchange for my life. If you don’t live a life in service of a greater good, you’ve gotta at least die a death on service of a greater good, you know? And I fear that I won’t get either a life or a death that means anything.”

Have you lived enough to be remembered?

“All salvation is temporary,” Augustus shot back. “I bought them a minute that buys them an hour, which is the hour that buys them a year. No one’s gonna buy them forever, Hazel Grace, but my life bought them a minute. And that’s not nothing.”

It was amazing to read through thoughts of teenagers bent on unraveling the intricacies of Life and Death. Their days were numbered. Hazel would not be alive except for the fictional, miraculous drug of Green’s that she took regularly. They carried around the sign that they have Cancer–Hazel had a tank and Gus had a prosthetic leg. I’d rather say that these characters are not stripped of Life, but rather, the luxury of Time.

My University professor told me to drop dead in class because I accounted the innocent Destiny on my screenplay character’s lack of love, because, really, it was a matter of Choice. In this story of Hazel and Augustus, who were young, very sick, and in love, who do we blame for their tragic love story? For the strain of Time on these amazing, young people bursting with love? Can I finally curse Destiny for making me weep on this sad love story?

Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: hers, that she is so sick; yours, that you are so well. Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of our stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in out stars / But in ourselves.”

It could have been easy. Hazel could have just cursed the the stars or Cancer for her and Augustus’ ordeals, but what made this story more raw was that, they have chosen to see the world in a much wider perspective. These two people who had every right in the world to be hopeless and be angry for seemingly having been punished, thought, although in a rather jokingly manner, that they could not blame Cancer for this. For, Cancer just wanted to live.

“Just like Pain. It just wants, and demands, to be felt.”

Ridiculous idea, I know, but I found it brave to accept things as they are,  to live without finding someone or something to blame our misfortunes for. As Cassius told Brutus, as relayed by Peter Van Houten, and then Hazel Grace and Augustus, fate got nothing to do with this tragedy. But it was the universe’s non-ability to become a wish-granting factory.

We live in a universe devoted to the creation, and the eradication of awareness, Augustus Waters did not die after a lengthy battle with cancer. He died after a lengthy battle with human consciousness, a victim–as you will be–of the universe’s need to make and unmake all that is possible.

“Sometimes it seems the universe wants to be noticed.”
“That’s what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it–or my observation of it–is temporary?”

Enough about Sadness. I do not only read Green because he, most of the time, writes sad stories that nurtures the Depressive in Me, but mostly because he always leaves me thinking. There are quite a few authors who have the ability to not only make you feel, but also make you think, and John Green is a favorite.

Other than the big questions about the way I am living my life, my woes, etc. [Believe me, this post is long-ass, but my list can top this] that Green left me after TFiOS, I was also grateful for having been introduced to a story love that was painful, but beautiful.

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
“But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

Thank you, John Green, for this gift.

John Green signed my copy using a blue Sharpie!
This was during the time when he
ran out of green Sharpies, obviously.
Pardon the fan girl in me,
but this made me feel special. I know, I’m OA.

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