So Katie doesn’t have her own blog (sad), but as with The Giddy Owl and my boi Will, I wasn’t able to include everything they had to say. So I’m adding it here for people to reference if they want to know all of her thoughts that didn’t make it into the post.
I’ll be correcting spelling/grammar, but otherwise everything here — pictures, comments, etc. — is all hers.
KATIE’S SUPER MAGICAL SPECIAL AWESOME GUEST POST!!!!
Part 1: General Stupidity!
On the flight home, twenty thousand feet above clouds that were ten thousand feet above the ground, Gus said, “I used to think it would be fun to live on a cloud.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Like it would be like one of those inflatable moonwalk machines, except for always.”
“Except for always”? I realize those machines are a temporary experience, but did she really just say “always” to explain how living on a cloud would be different from using one of those moonwalk machines? “Always”? I smell Sunshine stealing “always” from Isaac, who we all know isn’t using that anymore.
“But then in middle school science, Mr. Martinez asked who among us had ever fantasized about living in the clouds, and everyone raised their hand. Then Mr. Martinez told us that up in the clouds the wind blew one hundred and fifty miles an hour and the temperature was thirty below zero and there was no oxygen and we’d all die within seconds.”
“Sounds like a nice guy.”
“He specialized in the murder of dreams, Hazel Grace, let me tell you.”
“Specialized in the murder of dreams.” Really, Gus? If you feel that strongly about it, why are you about to tell Sunshine what this “dream murderer” told you with your own passion and bleakness about what he said? Because you clearly enjoy doing the exact same thing. A self-proclaimed dream-murderer? (Gus sure lives up to your nickname for him, Mr. Psycho.)
You think volcanoes are awesome? Tell that to the ten thousand screaming corpses at Pompeii. You still secretly believe that there is an element of magic to this world? It’s all just soulless molecules bouncing against each other randomly. Do you worry about who will take care of you if your parents die? As well you should, because they will be worm food in the fullness of time.”
Here we go… Mr. Psycho has to smugly and coldly tell Sunshine that any world wonder should be demoted to “soulless molecules” if it has the capacity to do harm. Don’t like clouds! If you lived on one, you’d be dead. When you think of a volcano, you should immediately think of Pompeii. Oh, and your parents? Yeah, they’ll just die too and be worm’s meat. What a fun lad.
A flight attendant walked through the aisle with a beverage cart, half whispering, “Drinks? Drinks? Drinks? Drinks?”
“Could we have some champagne, please?”
“You’re twenty-one?” she asked dubiously. I conspicuously rearranged the nubbins in my nose. The stewardess smiled, then glanced down at my sleeping mother. “She won’t mind?” she asked of Mom.
“Nah,” I said.
So she poured champagne into two plastic cups. Cancer Perks.
Oh right, a flight-attendant would definitely jump at the chance to violate international and federal laws by slipping some kids alcohol when their adult guardian is sleeping. Sure thing, Green. Now, I’m not a flight-attendant. I certainly can’t speak for every flight attendant on the planet, and presumably there are a few out there who are willing to do something as insane as this. I’ve gotten my alcohol server’s permit, and the class implicitly states what you are to do and not to do, but veteran bartenders will bend the rules here or there, but it is generally regarding free drinks or maybe giving you a double instead of a single.
However, actually serving underage children on an international flight would have to be done by the most irresponsible, degenerate flight-attendant on the planet. The fact that she even asked their age (knowing they were under twenty-one), shows this flight was adhering to U.S. law (as the plane originated there and was headed back to the U.S.). I don’t care how quiet the plane was, how sincere Sunshine sounds, or how “totes adorbs” Mr. Psycho’s smile looks in that moment. This scene is positively ridiculous.
On top of the absurdity of risking one’s job for this unnecessary act, Stupid Stewardess (as she will be known from here on out) has to see Sunshine has major health problems. Serving alcohol to minors on an international flight wasn’t enough of a gamble for Stupid Stewardess? She decided to up the ante by serving alcohol to a seriously ill minor.
And Green takes the chance to use “cancer perk” again. Well, of course! If there is anything more sane than illegally serving alcohol to minors on an international flight, it is serving alcohol to minors with serious illness! Because no flight-attendant would be well-versed on not serving alcohol to minors and what a liability it would be, in particular, if one of them who is clearly very ill, has a terrible reaction.
It’s Hazel Grace’s and Augustus’ world; everyone else just lives in it.
“So I read An Imperial Affliction while you guys were gone,” Dad said.
I turned my head up to him. “Oh, cool. What’d you think?”
“It was good. A little over my head. I was a biochemistry major, remember, not a literature guy. I do wish it had ended.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Common complaint.”
“Also, it was a bit hopeless,” he said. “A bit defeatist.”
“If by defeatist you mean honest, then I agree.”
“I don’t think defeatism is honest,” Dad answered. “I refuse to accept that.”
“So everything happens for a reason and we’ll all go live in the clouds and play harps and live in mansions?”
Dad smiled. He put a big arm around me and pulled me to him, kissing the side of my head. “I don’t know what I believe, Hazel. I thought being an adult meant knowing what you believe, but that has not been my experience.”
These characters really sound like carbon copies of each other. If carbon were made out of selfish, cynical, unlovable creatures. Hah, in this case, they are! Sunshine’s dad, a biochemist would understand this metaphor:
Dear Hazel’s dad,
Your daughter is not made out of sunshine and roses. She’s a carbon structure, full of narcissism and awfulness just like her bffl, Augustus Waters. I can’t tell the two apart. If I were to read any of their lines at any given time, I wouldn’t be able to say who said it.
Actually that letter needs to be to Green. I need another drink.
In the above text, we see Hazel sounds a lot like Gus earlier in the chapter, shooting down her father when he is actually trying to have a nice moment with her. The guy just sat down and read your love affair before Gus — your copy of An Imperial Affliction — and all you can do is spew your snark and gloom.
I get it. Your “boyfriend” is very ill again. You have been perpetually ill for years. But my goodness, you sure can muster up more decency for Gus. For Gus only. Because he is oh-so-dreamy.
Okay, I have got to get to eggs being thrown before I marinate my liver in vodka. Oh, but before I do, I have to get to yet another Sunshine Gem:
After a while, Isaac’s mom brought him over. “Isaac, hi, it’s Hazel from Support Group, not your evil ex-girlfriend.”
“Hi, it’s Hazel” would have sufficed. However, it would just not be Miss Sunshine Hazel Grace Lancaster without having to rub in that the female voice Isaac is hearing is, in fact, hers and not his “evil-ex-girlfriend.” Because Isaac would want to be reminded of her out of the blue. Yes siree.
Okay, eggs. We’re coming!
It is another testament to how adults only exist in this story to serve the teens’ needs (except for when an adult is meant to outright cause a snafu or wreak havoc, which is then purely for plot advancement). This book repeatedly balks at realism time and time again. In Green’s world, sick teens are free to run amok while the parents are suspiciously missing. They’re encouraged to do things that would jeopardize people’s jobs (Stupid Stewardness) or commit crimes (the egging).
Many people who eat up this book seem to like to cheer for the underdog (even when it is outlandish). What is a better underdog than a cancer kid? (In this case, three of them!) This is why people cheered at this scene in the theatre and why people mentally think “YES” when reading this scene; classic teenage hijinks meets cancer kids. It’s the perfect recipe to celebrate. No adult will stand in their way! Hoo-ray!
Gus then guided him back toward the car. “See, Isaac, if you just take—we’re coming to the curb now—the feeling of legitimacy away from them, if you turn it around so they feel like they are committing a crime by watching—a few more steps—their cars get egged, they’ll be confused and scared and worried and they’ll just return to their—you’ll find the door handle directly in front of you—quietly desperate lives.”
I’m sorry . . . “they’ll just return to their…quietly desperate lives”? What did Monica’s family members ever do to any of them? They egg Monica’s car because she got out of the relationship, and they’re going to punish her poor parents and damage their property? Are they total narcissists?
I don’t really blame Isaac. He’s just gone through the worst surgery of his life, he lost one of his senses, and he is the one being egged on by two completely demented rabblerousers. I love how Gus threatened Monica’s mother with the Cancer Three calling the police. He is completely mad. The fact that Monica’s mother just went back inside, la la la, just shows once more how Green is absolutely not on planet earth. Normal human behavior is devoid in TFIOS.
I’d have loved the police to be called . . . on the Cancer Three. I can imagine the rest of this book would be much more interesting with them getting booked and having to be released on bond. I can only wish. Off topic: the film just started again on HBO. Time for one last drink.
Part 2: Medical Errors!
Thus far, it really looks like Green’s research consisted of googling a cancer with a big name and awful characteristics and didn’t do much else in the way of basic research. I know he did know a girl with cancer; not that it helped him learn how to write identifiable characters with redeeming qualities, but he sure likes to talk about her, like when his smug-dork-face was winning an MTV Movie Award last week.
Ugh, I never watch their annual show, but it ran late, and Green got the big one at the finish. I was waiting for my bad reality tv show to come on, so I had the misfortune of seeing most of the cast and Green skip to the podium like overrated rock stars. (I sound so harsh about Green befriending the cancer-stricken girl who has passed. He’s probably a nice guy, but that has no bearing on his story-telling abilities.)
So I watched Green ham it up with his new award while waiting for my stupid show. At least I can admit when I love bad tv, but the fans of TFioS (book or film) who don’t think it’s a bad indulgence, but hold it in high regard, really slay me. It’s an abomination. I can’t stress that enough.
Green up at the podium with the actor who played Isaac reminded me how badly he wrote his character. It was as if Green said, “I need a character to come back and forth with his sad tale when it’s convenient for my contrived plot. ‘Retinoblastoma?’ Eye cancer! How gruesome! We’ll give it to ‘back-and-forth, sad-tale’ character, and who cares that it makes no sense or Hazel is a heartless bitch about Isaac? ‘Retinoblastoma’ sounds complicated. CHECK!”
Never mind that retinoblastoma would not affect anyone in the manner in which Isaac’s case is portrayed. I could write a long explanation and cite multiple medical sources about this; more than anyone would want to read!
Isaac’s case is just one of the many medical errors and far-fetched medical issues running throughout this book. While some details can be overlooked or excused (such as Hazel’s drug being fictional–totally fine), this work repeatedly gets the medical aspects wrong because Green was too focused on his contrived storyline.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. I’m just a lowly second-year premed student with an ax to grind when such errors are based on fallacies.
All right, thank the nice lady for her thoughts!