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The Fault In Our Stars - John caite.info No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or “Not your fault, Hazel Grace. and in love. The reviewers say: 'A novel of life and death and the people caught in between, The Fault in Our. Stars is John Green at his best. You laugh, you cry, . The Fault in our Stars John Green of them from my patients in 30 years of clinical practice but this novel manages to Download full-text PDF.
Yours truly, Peter Van Houten It was really written by him. Heart-working-too-hard pain. The cast had rotated a bit down there in the Literal Heart of Jesus. Isaac lived in a small ranch house in Meridian Hills next to this fancy private school. I shook my head no. The sound.
I spent the next two hours writing an email to Peter Van Houten. Dear Mr. My friend Augustus Waters, who read An Imperial Affliction at my recommendation, just received an email from you at this address.
I hope you will not mind that Augustus shared that email with me. Van Houten, I understand from your email to Augustus that you are not planning to publish any more books. I never have to worry whether your next book will live up to the magnificent perfection of the original. Or at least you got me right.
I wonder, though, if you would mind answering a couple questions I have about what happens after the end of the novel. Temple, etc. Also, is the Dutch Tulip Man a fraud or does he really love them? Do they stay together? And lastly—I realize that this is the kind of deep and thoughtful question you always hoped your readers would ask— what becomes of Sisyphus the Hamster? I know these are not important literary questions and that your book is full of important literary questions, but I would just really like to know.
It took him a minute to find the book, but finally he read the quote to me. God, Mayhem grits his teeth a lot in these books. My kissing—all prediagnosis—had been uncomfortable and slobbery, and on some level it always felt like kids playing at being grown.
But of course it had been a while. I almost felt like he was there in my room with me, but in a way it was better, like I was not in my room and he was not in his, but instead we were together in some invisible and tenuous third space that could only be visited on the phone. It was Augustus who finally hung up. Augustus assured me it was because my email was better and required a more thoughtful response, that Van Houten was busy writing answers to my questions, and that brilliant prose took time.
But still I worried. Isaac out of surgery. It went well. That afternoon, Mom consented to loan me the car so I could drive down to Memorial to check in on Isaac. Um, Support Group Hazel? Night-of-the-broken-trophies Hazel? Hi, Support Group Hazel. Come over here so I can examine your face with my hands and see deeper into your soul than a sighted person ever could. I pulled a chair up and sat down, took his hand. Then nothing for a while. Isaac bit his nails, and I could see some blood on the corners of a couple of his cuticles.
Fourteen months is a long time. God, that hurts. The nurse, having finished the bandage change, stepped back. Did she seriously say that?
I mean is this my freaking arm or a dartboard? No condescending voice. There might be a little ouchie. I just want the hell out of this place. His mouth tightened. I could see the pain. Is that crazy? The whole cancer thing.
The medicine working. He was here when I woke up. Took off school. He nodded a little. And then, like the bitch I am: I went downstairs to the tiny windowless gift shop and asked the decrepit volunteer sitting on a stool behind a cash register what kind of flowers smell the strongest.
Same smell, and lots of it. The carnations were cheaper, so I grabbed a dozen yellow ones. They cost fourteen dollars. I went back into the room; his mom was there, holding his hand. She was young and really pretty. These are for him.
I shook my head no. I talked to him a little before, when they were doing the bandages or whatever. She nodded. I left. The next morning I woke up early and checked my email first thing. Dear Ms. Lancaster, I fear your faith has been misplaced—but then, faith usually is. I cannot answer your questions, at least not in writing, because to write out such answers would constitute a sequel to An Imperial Affliction, which you might publish or otherwise share on the network that has replaced the brains of your generation.
There is the telephone, but then you might record the conversation. Alas, dear Hazel, I could never answer such questions except in person, and you are there, while I am here. That noted, I must confess that the unexpected receipt of your correspondence via Ms. Vliegenthart has delighted me: What a wondrous thing to know that I made something useful to you—even if that book seems so distant from me that I feel it was written by a different man altogether.
The author of that novel was so thin, so frail, so comparatively optimistic! Should you find yourself in Amsterdam, however, please do pay a visit at your leisure. I am usually home. I would even allow you a peek at my grocery lists. Still nervous, Mom knelt down to check on Philip to ensure he was condensing oxygen appropriately.
Augustus Waters—style, I read him the letter in lieu of saying hello. I said nothing. I was flattered but changed the subject immediately. Then he goes to this rehab or something for a while, but he gets to sleep at home, I think. I gotta go. I could hear his crooked smile. We Hoosiers are excessively optimistic about summer. Mom and I sat next to each other on a bench across from a goat-soap maker, a man in overalls who had to explain to every single person who walked by that yes, they were his goats, and no, goat soap does not smell like goats.
My phone rang. It was Gus, though. I knew the answer, because I am currently at your house. Well, we are on our way, I guess? See you soon. He was holding a bouquet of bright orange tulips just beginning to bloom, and wearing an Indiana Pacers jersey under his fleece, a wardrobe choice that seemed utterly out of character, although it did look quite good on him.
I wanted them to be my flowers. I brushed my hair and teeth and put on some lip gloss and the smallest possible dab of perfume.
I kept looking at the flowers. They were aggressively orange, almost too orange to be pretty. When I reentered my room, I could hear people talking, so I sat on the edge of my bed for a while and listened through my hollow bedroom door: I like your artwork. Legs are heavy! The treatment options these days—it really is remarkable. Augustus stood up and leaned over to her, whispering the answer, and then held a finger to his lips.
I held it up as evidence, tilted my oxygen cart onto its front wheels, and started walking. Augustus hustled over, offering me his arm, which I took. My fingers wrapped around his biceps. Unfortunately, he insisted upon driving, so the surprise could be a surprise. You think they liked me? Who cares, though? I thought of the PET scan. Worry is useless. I worried anyway. The only thing I could think of in this direction was the cemetery. Augustus reached into the center console, flipped open a full pack of cigarettes, and removed one.
A few of them are broken near the filters, but I think this pack could easily get me to my eighteenth birthday. Name some things that you never see in Indianapolis. He laughed. Keep going. Family-owned restaurants. Also, culture. We drove past the museum and parked right next to this basketball court filled with huge blue and red steel arcs that imagined the path of a bouncing ball.
We walked down what passes for a hill in Indianapolis to this clearing where kids were climbing all over this huge oversize skeleton sculpture. The bones were each about waist high, and the thighbone was longer than me. My shoulder hurt. I worried the cancer had spread from my lungs.
I imagined the tumor metastasizing into my own bones, boring holes into my skeleton, a slithering eel of insidious intent. So are tulips. He unzipped it, producing an orange blanket, a pint of orange juice, and some sandwiches wrapped in plastic wrap with the crusts cut off.
You remember William of Orange and everything? And tomato. The tomatoes are from Mexico. In the distance, soaked in the unblemished sunlight so rare and precious in our hometown, a gaggle of kids made a skeleton into a playground, jumping back and forth among the prosthetic bones. He was holding the unlit cigarette between his fingers, flicking at it as if to get rid of the ash.
He placed it back in his mouth. Like, you just have to jump from rib cage to skull. Which means that, second, the sculpture essentially forces children to play on bones. The symbolic resonances are endless, Hazel Grace.
You are probably wondering why you are eating a bad cheese sandwich and drinking orange juice and why I am wearing the jersey of a Dutchman who played a sport I have come to loathe. The Grim Reaper was staring you in the face and the fear of dying with your Wish still in your proverbial pocket, ungranted, led you to rush toward the first Wish you could think of, and you, like so many others, chose the cold and artificial pleasures of the theme park.
But let me submit that the real heroes of the Wish Factory are the young men and women who wait like Vladimir and Estragon wait for Godot and good Christian girls wait for marriage. These young heroes wait stoically and without complaint for their one true Wish to come along. You had to be pretty sick for the Genies to hook you up with a Wish.
There was all this light on his face; he had to squint to look at me, which made his nose crinkle adorably.
They said Amsterdam is lovely in the beginning of May. They proposed leaving May third and returning May seventh. My body tensed, and I think he saw it, because he pulled his hand away. I told her that the tulips and the Dutch artist and everything were all because Augustus was using his Wish to take me to Amsterdam. Maria herself. My dad understood my cancer the way I did: But my mom knew more about differentiated thyroid carcinoma in adolescents than most oncologists. The Genies are loaded.
Finally, she started to get excited, typing tasks into her phone: I kind of had a headache, so I downed a couple Advil and decided to take a nap. But I ended up just lying in bed and replaying the whole picnic with Augustus. The gentle familiarity felt wrong, somehow. I thought maybe it was how orchestrated the whole thing had been: It all felt Romantic, but not romantic. But the truth is that I had never wanted him to kiss me, not in the way you are supposed to want these things.
I mean, he was gorgeous. I was attracted to him. I thought about him in that way, to borrow a phrase from the middle school vernacular.
But the actual touch, the realized touch. It was not a move designed to elicit arousal, but it was certainly a designed move, because Augustus Waters was no improviser. So what had he been trying to convey? At some point, I realized I was Kaitlyning the encounter, so I decided to text Kaitlyn and ask for some advice. She called immediately. The things I would do to that boy. But, oh, sweet holy Lord, I would ride that one-legged pony all the way around the corral. Right, you and Augustus Waters.
I mean, I definitely like him. Sometimes beautiful people have ugly hands. He called it preemptive dumping. It took me a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints and forty minutes to get over that boy.
I had a postmonition. I pulled out my laptop and looked up Caroline Mathers. The physical similarities were striking: But her eyes were dark brown mine are green and her complexion was much darker—Italian or something. Thousands of people—literally thousands—had left condolence messages for her. I was able to click through to some of her pictures. Augustus was in a bunch of the earlier ones: The most recent pictures were all of her before, when she was healthy, uploaded postmortem by friends: My healthy self looked very little like her healthy self.
I kept clicking back to this one wall post, written two months ago, nine months after she died, by one of her friends. We all miss you so much. It just never ends. It feels like we were all wounded in your battle, Caroline. I miss you.
I love you. After a while, Mom and Dad announced it was time for dinner. I kept telling myself to compartmentalize, to be here now at the circular table arguably too large in diameter for three people and definitely too large for two with this soggy broccoli and a black-bean burger that all the ketchup in the world could not adequately moisten. I told myself that imagining a met in my brain or my shoulder would not affect the invisible reality going on inside of me, and that therefore all such thoughts were wasted moments in a life composed of a definitionally finite set of such moments.
I even tried to tell myself to live my best life today. Because there had not been an earthquake in Papua New Guinea that day, my parents were all hyperfocused on me, and so I could not hide this flash flood of anxiety.
I took a bite of burger. Tried to say something that a normal person whose brain was not drowning in panic would say. I tried not to think about the word wounded, which of course is a way of thinking about it. Like Caroline Mathers had been a bomb and when she blew up everyone around her was left with embedded shrapnel. Dad asked me if I was working on anything for school. She seemed annoyed about it. For me to be teenagery? He cried a lot, my dad. I really am fine; I just want to go read for a while.
So it was all like, Caroline continues to have behavioral problems. Hoping to go home on Thursday. So of course I tensed up when he touched me. To be with him was to hurt him—inevitably. I decided to text him. I wanted to avoid a whole conversation about it.
Anyway, sorry. He responded a few minutes later. I wrote back. He responded: Oh, my God, stop flirting with me! I just said: My phone buzzed moments later. I was kidding, Hazel Grace.
I understand. But we both know that okay is a very flirty word. I was very tempted to respond Okay again, but I pictured him at my funeral, and that helped me text properly. Thinking about you dying makes us sad, Hazel, but you are not a grenade. You are amazing. Except go to school. But I took stupid Bluie and kind of cuddled with him as I fell asleep. I still had one arm draped over Bluie, in fact, when I awoke just after four in the morning with an apocalyptic pain fingering out from the unreachable center of my head.
I was left on the shore with the waves washing over me, unable to drown. There was nothing to do: Screaming made it worse. All stimuli made it worse, actually. The only solution was to try to unmake the world, to make it black and silent and uninhabited again, to return to the moment before the Big Bang, in the beginning when there was the Word, and to live in that vacuous uncreated space alone with the Word.
People talk about the courage of cancer patients, and I do not deny that courage. I had been poked and stabbed and poisoned for years, and still I trod on.
But make no mistake: In that moment, I would have been very, very happy to die. I woke up in the ICU. There was wailing down the hall. I was alone. I hit the red call button. A nurse came in seconds later.
Whereupon I started to feel pretty tired again. But I woke up a bit when my parents came in, crying and kissing my face repeatedly, and I reached up for them and tried to squeeze, but my everything hurt when I squeezed, and Mom and Dad told me that I did not have a brain tumor, but that my headache was caused by poor oxygenation, which was caused by my lungs swimming in fluid, a liter and a half!!!!
Mom told me I was going to go home, that I really was, that I would just have to get this drained every now and again and get back on the BiPAP, this nighttime machine that forces air in and out of my crap lungs. No new tumors. My shoulder pain had been lack-of-oxygen pain. Heart-working-too-hard pain. I liked Dr. She asked me if I wanted some ice chips, and I nodded, and then she sat at the bed with me and spooned them into my mouth.
A celebrity did drugs. Politicians disagreed. A different celebrity wore a bikini that revealed a bodily imperfection. A team won a sporting event, but another team lost. You miss too much. I mumbled a thank-you. Praise God for good nurses. I nodded. You say thanks a lot in a hospital. I tried to settle into the bed. Family only. It would take me six days to get home, six undays of staring at acoustic ceiling tile and watching television and sleeping and pain and wishing for time to pass.
I did not see Augustus or anyone other than my parents. I felt a little better each day, though: Each sleep ended to reveal a person who seemed a bit more like me. Sleep fights cancer, Regular Dr. Jim said for the thousandth time as he hovered over me one morning surrounded by a coterie of medical students.
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. A nurse came in and took out my IV. I felt untethered even though I still had the oxygen tank to carry around with me. I went into the bathroom, took my first shower in a week, got dressed, and when I got out, I was so tired I had to lie down and get my breath.
I stood up and shuffled over to one of the molded plastic chairs against the wall, tucking my tank beneath the chair. It wore me out. Dad came back with Augustus a few minutes later. His hair was messy, sweeping down over his forehead. He sat down in the blue faux-leather recliner next to my chair. He leaned in toward me, seemingly incapable of stifling the smile. Mom and Dad left us alone, which felt awkward. My voice was smaller than I wanted it to be.
I just want, like. He was so beautiful. He reached for my hand but I shook my head. Waters, I am in receipt of your electronic mail dated the 14th of April and duly impressed by the Shakespearean complexity of your tragedy. Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: What a slut time is. She screws everybody. Shakespeare told us precious little of the man whom he entombed in his linguistic sarcophagus.
Witness also that when we talk about literature, we do so in the present tense. When we speak of the dead, we are not so kind. You do not immortalize the lost by writing about them. Language buries, but does not resurrect. Full disclosure: I am not the first to make this observation. The dead are visible only in the terrible lidless eye of memory.
The living, thank heaven, retain the ability to surprise and to disappoint. She wishes to spare you pain, and you should let her. Yours truly, Peter Van Houten It was really written by him.
I licked my finger and dabbed the paper and the ink bled a little, so I knew it was really real.
She was always waiting. She peeked her head around the door. Maria and ask if international travel would kill me? Every so often, a bunch of doctors and social workers and physical therapists and whoever else got together around a big table in a conference room and discussed my situation. Not the Augustus Waters situation or the Amsterdam situation. The cancer situation. Maria led the meeting. She hugged me when I got there.
She was a hugger. I felt a little better, I guess. Sleeping with the BiPAP all night made my lungs feel almost normal, although, then again, I did not really remember lung normality.
Everyone got there and made a big show of turning off their pagers and everything so it would be all about me, and then Dr. So the question is, how should we proceed? Simons tapped at the table with his forefinger. Very few people have been on it as long as you have. I hated Cancer Team Meetings in general, but I hated this one in particular.
I understood: No use wasting good lungs on a hopeless case. I nodded, trying not to look like that comment hurt me. My dad started crying a little. I hated hurting him. Most of the time, I could forget about it, but the inexorable truth is this: Anyway, eventually we decided to keep things the same only with more frequent fluid drainings. At the end, I asked if I could travel to Amsterdam, and Dr.
Simons actually and literally laughed, but then Dr. Maria shrugged. On the car ride home, my parents agreed: I would not be going to Amsterdam unless and until there was medical agreement that it would be safe. I was already in bed—after dinner had become my bedtime for the moment—propped up with a gajillion pillows and also Bluie, with my computer on my lap. I laughed again. The smaller circle is seventeen-year-old guys with one leg. Then I got off the phone and my mom and dad came into my room, and even though it was really not big enough for all three of us, they lay on either side of the bed with me and we all watched ANTM on the little TV in my room.
Then Mom hooked me up to the BiPAP and tucked me in, and Dad kissed me on the forehead, the kiss all stubble, and then I closed my eyes. The BiPAP essentially took control of my breathing away from me, which was intensely annoying, but the great thing about it was that it made all this noise, rumbling with each inhalation and whirring as I exhaled.
I kept thinking that it sounded like a dragon breathing in time with me, like I had this pet dragon who was cuddled up next to me and cared enough about me to time his breaths to mine. I was thinking about that as I sank into sleep. I got up late the next morning. It was too pathetic even for me. Around three, when I figured Augustus would be home from school, I went into the backyard and called him. As the phone rang, I sat down on the grass, which was all overgrown and dandeliony.
The sky was gray and low and full of rain but not yet raining.
I was still saying it when he called back. Behind me, I heard the sliding-glass door open. I turned around. It was Augustus, wearing khaki pants and a short-sleeve plaid button- down. I wiped my face with my sleeve and smiled. It took him a second to sit down on the ground next to me, and he grimaced as he landed rather ungracefully on his ass. I looked over at him. He was looking past me, into the backyard. Why would you even like me? He just held on to me, his fingers strong against my left arm.
Gus loaded this giveaway site called Free No Catch and together we wrote an ad. Do you realize how rare it is to come across a hot girl who creates an adjectival version of the word pedophile? You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are. There was never enough air in the world, but the shortage was particularly acute in that moment. We wrote the ad together, editing each other as we went. In the end, we settled upon this: Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon.
Swing set currently resides near 83rd and Spring Mill. As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: When I checked my email an hour later, I learned that we had plenty of swing-set suitors to choose from.
I emailed him back and told him to pick it up at his leisure. We were sitting there on the couch together, and he pushed himself up to go but then fell back down onto the couch and sneaked a kiss onto my cheek. He turned back to me.
I went to bed right after dinner, the BiPAP drowning out the world beyond my room. I never saw the swing set again. I had an email from Lidewij Vliegenthart. Dear Hazel, I have received word via the Genies that you will be visiting us with Augustus Waters and your mother beginning on 4th of May.
Only a week away! Peter and I are delighted and cannot wait to make your acquaintance. Perhaps we should give you one day for the jet lag, yes? And then perhaps afterward we can tour a museum or the Anne Frank House? I texted Augustus because I knew he was in school: Still free May three? I looked down my blouse at my chest. The cast had rotated a bit down there in the Literal Heart of Jesus.
I arrived early, enough time for perennially strong appendiceal cancer survivor Lida to bring me up- to-date on everyone as I ate a grocery-store chocolate chip cookie while leaning against the dessert table.
Twelve-year-old leukemic Michael had passed away. 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. A cute, chubby girl walked over to the table and said hi to Lida, then introduced herself to me as Susan. She had put makeup over the scar, which only served to emphasize it.
His mom led him to a chair, kissed the top of his head, and shuffled back toward the elevator. He felt around beneath him and then sat. I sat down in the chair next to him. Glad to be home, I guess. Gus told me you were in the ICU? The world went on, as it does, without my full participation, and I only woke up from the reverie when someone said my name. It was Lida the Strong. Lida in remission. Blond, healthy, stout Lida, who swam on her high school swim team. She just keeps fighting the battle, waking up every morning and going to war without complaint.
I just wish I had her strength. I felt bad for him. Isaac lived in a small ranch house in Meridian Hills next to this fancy private school. We sat down in the living room while his mom went off to the kitchen to make dinner, and then he asked if I wanted to play a game.
So he asked for the remote. I gave it to him, and he turned on the TV and then a computer attached to it. The TV screen stayed black, but after a few seconds a deep voice spoke from it. Isaac pointed toward the TV, like I should talk to it or something. It is locked. Isaac jumped in. As Mayhem and Jacks, Isaac and I felt our way forward in the cavern until we bumped into a guy whom we stabbed after getting him to tell us that we were in a Ukrainian prison cave, more than a mile beneath the ground.
As we continued, sound effects—a raging underground river, voices speaking in Ukrainian and accented English—led you through the cave, but there was nothing to see in this game. God, help me. Mom countered that since she was twice as large as me and therefore required more physical fabric to preserve her modesty, she deserved at least two-thirds of the suitcase.
In the end, we both lost. So it goes. The car was packed by six fifteen, whereupon Mom insisted that we eat breakfast with Dad, although I had a moral opposition to eating before dawn on the grounds that I was not a nineteenth-century Russian peasant fortifying myself for a day in the fields.
But anyway, I tried to stomach down some eggs while Mom and Dad enjoyed these homemade versions of Egg McMuffins they liked. How did scrambled eggs get stuck with breakfast exclusivity? You can put bacon on a sandwich without anyone freaking out. Anyway, I knew it was stupid, but I felt kind of bad for scrambled eggs.
After they finished eating, Dad did the dishes and walked us to the car. Of course, he started crying, and he kissed my cheek with his wet stubbly face. I love you so much. He was waving back, and crying. It occurred to me that he was probably thinking he might never see me again, which he probably thought every single morning of his entire weekday life as he left for work, which probably sucked.
As we approached the house, I could hear someone crying inside. We stared at the house for a while. The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives.
I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture. Mom reached down to the console between us, grabbed her coffee mug, and took a sip. My phone buzzed.
A text from Augustus. Do you like me better in a polo or a button-down? I replied: Thirty seconds later, the front door opened, and a smiling Augustus appeared, a roller bag behind him. He wore a pressed sky-blue button- down tucked into his jeans. A Camel Light dangled from his lips. My mom got out to say hi to him. He took the cigarette out momentarily and spoke in the confident voice to which I was accustomed. Moments later, Augustus opened a door behind me and engaged in the complicated business of entering the backseat of a car with one leg.
My mom got in and closed the car door. Which was not quite true. The next stop was the airport parking lot, and then a bus took us to the terminal, and then an open-air electric car took us to the security line.
After about ten seconds, my lungs felt like they were folding in upon themselves like flowers at dusk. I sat down on a gray bench just past the machine and tried to catch my breath, my cough a rattling drizzle, and I felt pretty miserable until I got the cannula back into place.
Even then, it hurt. The pain was always there, pulling me inside of myself, demanding to be felt. It always felt like I was waking up from the pain when something in the world outside of me suddenly required my comment or attention.
Mom was looking at me, concerned. What had she just said? Then I remembered. She reached her hand down to me and pulled me up. We got to the gate an hour before our scheduled boarding time.
There was also the business of being married to my dad—he was kind of clueless about, like, banking and hiring plumbers and cooking and doing things other than working for Morris Property, Inc. Her primary reason for living and my primary reason for living were awfully entangled.
Can I get you anything? I was embarrassed to have this lady kneeling in front of me while everyone watched, so I texted Augustus while she did it. Mom seemed unconcerned, but I was imagining all kinds of Amsterdam trip—ruining fates arrest, injury, mental breakdown and I felt like there was something noncancery wrong with my chest as the minutes ticked away.
I took it, and we walked side by side to the gate to preboard. I could feel everybody watching us, wondering what was wrong with us, and whether it would kill us, and how heroic my mom must be, and everything else. That was the worst part about having cancer, sometimes: The physical evidence of disease separates you from other people. We were irreconcilably other, and never was it more obvious than when the three of us walked through the empty plane, the stewardess nodding sympathetically and gesturing us toward our row in the distant back.
I sat in the middle of our three-person row with Augustus in the window seat and Mom in the aisle. I felt a little hemmed in by Mom, so of course I scooted over toward Augustus. He opened up his bag and unwrapped his burger. The people were starting to file into the plane now. They have a place and a time, like church does.
Or any plane. Gus nodded and rejoined the cigarette to its pack. We finally taxied out to the runway and the pilot said, Flight attendants, prepare for departure, and then two tremendous jet engines roared to life and we began to accelerate.
The nose of the plane rose up and we were aloft. Gus stared out the window, watching the planet shrink beneath us, and then I felt his hand relax beneath mine. He glanced at me and then back out the window.
His enthusiasm was adorable. Your mother. Who held your hand as you took your first infantile steps. It was a quick flight to Detroit, where the little electric car met us as we disembarked and drove us to the gate for Amsterdam.
That plane had TVs in the back of each seat, and once we were above the clouds, Augustus and I timed it so that we started watching the same romantic comedy at the same time on our respective screens.
So after the movie was over, Mom and Augustus and I all took sleeping pills. Mom conked out within seconds, but Augustus and I stayed up to look out the window for a while.
It would be awesome to fly in a superfast airplane that could chase the sunrise around the world for a while. So right now time is passing slower for us than for people on the ground. He hit his real knee with my knee and I hit his knee back with mine.
Toward the end of the movie, almost everyone is dead, and there is this insane moment when the Spartans start stacking the bodies of the dead up to form a wall of corpses. The dead become this massive roadblock standing between the Persians and the road to Sparta. This is getting awesome. I took my head off his shoulder for a moment to get a break from the gore and watched Augustus watch the movie. I watched my own screen through squinted eyes as the mountain grew with the bodies of Persians and Spartans.
When the Persians finally overran the Spartans, I looked over at Augustus again. Even though the good guys had just lost, Augustus seemed downright joyful. I nuzzled up to him again, but kept my eyes closed until the battle was finished.
What were you saying? Like, how many people do you think have ever died? The credits continued rolling. It took a long time to identify all those corpses, I guess.
My head was still on his shoulder. Like, if we got organized, and assigned a certain number of corpses to each living person, would there be enough living people to remember all the dead people?
The guys in this poem take even more drugs than I do. I am so in the mood for poetry. Do you have anything memorized?
He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. I just looked at him and let him look at me until he nodded, lips pursed, and turned away, placing the side of his head against the window. I did, eventually, and woke to the landing gear coming down.
My mouth tasted horrible, and I tried to keep it shut for fear of poisoning the airplane. I looked over at Augustus, who was staring out the window, and as we dipped below the low-hung clouds, I straightened my back to see the Netherlands.
The land seemed sunk into the ocean, little rectangles of green surrounded on all sides by canals. We landed, in fact, parallel to a canal, like there were two runways: After getting our bags and clearing customs, we all piled into a taxi driven by this doughy bald guy who spoke perfect English—like better English than I do.
The cabbie pulled out into traffic and we headed toward a highway with lots of blue signs featuring double vowels: Oosthuizen, Haarlem. Beside the highway, flat empty land stretched for miles, interrupted by the occasional huge corporate headquarters.
In short, Holland looked like Indianapolis, only with smaller cars. It gets older as you get closer to the center. We drove over a canal and from atop the bridge I could see dozens of houseboats moored along the water. It looked nothing like America. It looked like an old painting, but real—everything achingly idyllic in the morning light—and I thought about how wonderfully strange it would be to live in a place where almost everything had been built by the dead.
Although she is happy and feels really great with Augustus, she is uncertain about their joint future , as a couple due to her illness. As it turns out, her lungs were filled with fluid, and the body reacted, fiercely.
Upon her discharge from the hospital, finds out that Augusts never left the waiting room. He spices things up, with yet another letter from Van Houten, which is more personal than the last one. Hazel gets all worked up by the letter, and now she is firm in her decision to visit Amsterdam. Maria with its perspective on the situation tips the balance in favor of Hazel and supports her liveness. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward the 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? Hazel and Augustus are good to go, and the final plans are made before their trip to Amsterdam. A simple twist of reality crushes their expectations when they find out that Van Houten is merely a drunkard and not some genius who can answer their questions.
Augusts kisses Hazel, and they go back to the hotel where they make love for the first and ultimately the last time. The next day, Augustus reveals his dark secret, that cancer has returned, and spread throughout the body — the situation is dire. Augustus takes the role of a grenade, and his charm instantly fades away, but Hazel disagrees and says that he will always be the charismatic one.
He feels vulnerable and weak to take action. Hazel starts to call him Gus and expresses her endless love towards him. Augustus health deteriorates at lightning speed , and he arranges a pre-funeral just for Isaac and Hazel to share their experiences with him.
Hazel says that her love will never go away, and not even death is strong enough to keep them separated. Eight days later, Augustus passes away, and what shocks Hazel the most, is the arrival of Van Houten at the funeral. In fact, he sent all the necessary pages to Van Houten, for him to compose the story to pay tribute to Hazel. Without pain, how could we know joy? Lidewij brings pressure to Van Houten to read all these pages and design the eulogy.
His last words are — This world will hurt you, one way or the other, but you have a choice to prevent or allow such a thing. According to him, having a choice can make a difference in all aspects and Hazel agrees to. Like this summary? Do we dare write a review about such masterpiece?