Well, I’m back — and it didn’t take almost a month this time. It’s a Halloween miracle!
If you’ve just arrived at this blog, welcome! We’re
making fun of enjoying John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Get caught up on the first half of Chapter 1 here, and the second half here. For the rest of you who’d like to read along, you can find Chapter 2 here.
The second chapter begins almost immediately where the first left off, with Sunshine getting into Mr. Psycho’s car . . . conveniently skipping the scene where her mother apparently doesn’t care about her daughter’s safety.
Augustus Waters drove horrifically.
At least you can admit something about him is horrific.
Wait . . . Edward was a bad driver, too. Damn it, Green! It’s almost parody at this point!
Anyway, Perfect McSexyButt has a hamartia, finally. Not smoking, or being a total creep who needs to learn how to back off, but poor driving skills. That’s almost like character development, right?
Whether stopping or starting, everything happened with a tremendous JOLT. I flew against the seat belt of his Toyota SUV each time he braked, and my neck snapped backward each time he hit the gas. I might have been nervous—what with sitting in the car of a strange boy on the way to his house, keenly aware that my crap lungs complicate efforts to fend off unwanted advances—but his driving was so astonishingly poor that I could think of nothing else.
Oh, now it occurs to her that getting into a car with this freak was a bad idea. Better late than never, but if this ends with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style chase scene, I’m fully entitled to laugh.
He admits that he failed his driving test three times and talks about how difficult it is to have a prosthetic leg and I can’t argue with any of that, really. It probably does suck. You get a pass this time, Augustus Waters (and yes, the full-name thing is still annoying when I do it).
The fact that he finally got his license is declared a “Cancer Perk,” which is a cute way of saying that according to the laws of Whatever State This Takes Place In, it’s totally cool to risk the lives and property of everyone around you, because it’s only irresponsible if you don’t have cancer. Nice going!
There are a number of ways to establish someone’s approximate survival expectations without actually asking. I used the classic: “So, are you in school?” Generally, your parents pull you out of school at some point if they expect you to bite it.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m at North Central. A year behind, though: I’m a sophomore. You?”
I considered lying. No one likes a corpse, after all. But in the end I told the truth. “No, my parents withdrew me three years ago.”
Well, this is dark. Not sure how to make that funny, really. Hmm . . . oh, I know!
Sunshine goes into a description of her cancer, which is actually pretty touching . . . so I’m not going to talk about it here. Short version: She had cancer, now it’s in remission. But not really. Sort of. Yay?
Admittedly, my Cancer Miracle had only resulted in a bit of purchased time. (I did not yet know the size of the bit.)
That is a shame — and unlike Augustus, whose cancer is “highly curable,” I can tell that Sunshine is clearly going to die at the end of this book. It’s a dumb YA novel that makes people cry, it’s about cancer, so clearly someone has to die, and there’s no way it’s going to be Mr. Psycho. That’d be way too contrived and predictable. So get ready to say goodbye to our heroine, because she’s clearly a goner, unlike Sir Augustus Waters.
She tells him she’s taking college classes, and it allows for this “adorableness.”
“A college girl,” he said, nodding. “That explains the aura of sophistication.” He smirked at me. I shoved his upper arm playfully. I could feel the muscle right beneath the skin, all tense and amazing.
Cancer is so sexy, tee hee!
Anyway, they survive the trip home — apparently Augustus’s driving is terrible, unless they need to trade witticisms, in which case it doesn’t interrupt the flow of conversation in the slightest. It’s almost like Green forgot all about it.
We jerked to a halt in his driveway.
Hey, the continuity came back!
Augustus’s parents, despite not teaching their son that talking to girls like he’s a 30-year-old at a middle school dance is creepy, seem to be relatively decent people. A little square, because parents, am I right?
To be fair, though, Mr. Psycho doesn’t act like a psycho to them. It would’ve been easy for Green to go the “tormented teenager misunderstood by the adults” route, but Gus teases them, talks to them like an almost-normal person, and the whole family generally seems to be very close. It’s even a little cute.
Guh. My lunch almost came back up. I don’t think I can be nice to this author more than twice a chapter or I’ll get heartburn.
His mom was putting chicken into tortillas, which his dad then rolled up and placed in a glass pan. They didn’t seem too surprised by my arrival, which made sense: The fact that Augustus made me feel special did not necessarily indicate that I was special. Maybe he brought home a different girl every night to show her movies and feel her up.
Yeah, we get it, you’re just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world, nothing to see here, blah blah — wait, what?
Maybe he brought home a different girl every night to show her movies and feel her up.
Come to think of it, that is a little ominous. I’m not exactly inclined to think the best of Mr. Psycho, but that’s a good point. Why aren’t his parents reacting even a little to the sudden appearance of some girl dragging an oxygen tank? How else can we interpret their reaction but that Gus regularly brings girls home? And if that’s the case, why aren’t these obviously-involved parents concerned about their son’s serial dating?
“This is Hazel Grace,” he said, by way of introduction.
“Just Hazel,” I said.
“How’s it going, Hazel?” asked Gus’s dad. He was tall—almost as tall as Gus—and skinny in a way that parentally aged people usually aren’t.
While I appreciate that at least Mr. Psycho, Sr., respects Sunshine’s name preferences, I have to wonder what “parentally aged people” means. Is that just the dumbest way to say “parents” ever? Sunshine knows not all parents are the same age, right? Is Teen Mom “parentally aged,” too?
Mrs. Psycho, Sr., asks about the support group, and Gus is not at all smug and irritating, of course. Getting nothing from him, she asks Sunshine how she likes the group — which is something Mr. Psycho should’ve thought about before he began making fun of it, considering it’s kind of rude to insult things that other people might actually enjoy, especially if they go there on a regular basis (and Sunshine hasn’t yet mentioned that she’s forced to attend).
I paused a second, trying to figure out if my response should be calibrated to please Augustus or his parents.
A little early in the game to start trying to change yourself for your man, isn’t it? But I understand; it’s hard to develop opinions when your only personality traits are insecurity and snark.
They keep talking and talking and we’ve established his family is cute and Sunshine has no social skills can we please move on I’m so bored —
“I don’t, um, eat meat?”
“No problem. We’ll vegetarianize some,” she said.
“Animals are just too cute?” Gus asked.
“I want to minimize the number of deaths I am responsible for,” I said.
Was there a less . . . accusatory way to put that? No? Oh well, why don’t all us godless, evil animal-slaughterers just keep reading, then. The chapter has to end eventually.
“But I want to show Hazel Grace the basement,” Augustus said.
“Just Hazel,” I said.
Mr. Psycho brings her down to the basement . . . which is also his bedroom. Immediately after failing to talk his dad into letting them watch the movie down there. I’m not saying this guy is a creep, but I don’t know how many good intentions lead to basement
sex dungeons bedrooms. Or what kind of upstanding guy brings a girl he’s just met down there to do sex dungeony things talk.
But talk they must, because this book has so far been 85% dialogue and about 3% of it has been interesting. This time good ol’ Gus tells Sunshine about how he used to play basketball before he became the deep thinker we all know and fantasize stabbing repeatedly in the eyes with sporks love today:
“I was, like, the prototypical white Hoosier kid,” he said. “I was all about resurrecting the lost art of the midrange jumper, but then one day I was shooting free throws—just standing at the foul line at the North Central gym shooting from a rack of balls. All at once, I couldn’t figure out why I was methodically tossing a spherical object through a toroidal object. It seemed like the stupidest thing I could possibly be doing.
“I started thinking about little kids putting a cylindrical peg through a circular hole, and how they do it over and over again for months when they figure it out, and how basketball was basically just a slightly more aerobic version of that same exercise.”
Now, I’m all for sparing yourself the misery that is exercise, but let’s not pretend we’re morally or intellectually superior because we spend our time watching cat videos online instead of throwing balls at non-ball things. Your hobbies — which seem to be snobbery and hitting on strangers — aren’t better than other people’s hobbies, jerkwad.
Besides, all Sunshine does is talk about your sexy, sexy sexiness. Your rock-hard muscles and arms and shoulders and nostrils, probably. Where’s all that coming from, buddy? Are you doing some other productive, intellectually-stimulating workout?
Or are you just naturally buff? Does philosophy give you such amazing arm muscles? You’ll never have to work a day in your life if you can market your secret!
All right, that’s enough for now. We’re a little more than halfway through, and I’m slowly losing my will to live. Unless there’s very little substance to a chapter, I’m going to have to break these bad boys in half, just for the sake of my sanity.
Which drags this out twice as long as I’d originally expected.
See you next week!