Cover to Cover: The Fault in Our Stars, Ch. 14 Part 1

Iiiiiiit’s FINALS WEEK!

I have no in-class exams, but I have to find the time to write a 12-page paper (which is gonna be more like 17), an 8-pager, a 6-pager, a no-specified-length-but-previous-ones-have-been-between-5-and-19-pages paper, and assemble a portfolio of my best work.

Oh, and find something funny to say about John Green’s ceaseless march of hideousness he calls a book.

jesus save me

But luckily I’m armed with about 7,000 drag queen gifs, because I am obsessed and they have the best reaction shots ever.

And you guys should know by that if I like something, it’ll feature heavily on the blog for the rest of ever. Example: I need her to win all of the awards. Drag race, Nobel Peace Prize, Pulitzer . . . all of them.

Anyway, last chapter some boring stuff happened. This chapter, they’re finally leaving Amsterdam and let’s hope they find a plot somewhere. It’ll probably have something to do with Gus’ totally-huge-shocking-OMGWTF-unexpected-and-cruelly-ironic death.

Sounds like fun, right?

But it gets better! Remember how I conned The Giddy Owl into wasting precious brain cells coming up with jokes for me? Well, it turns out there’s others willing to do that, too. (I swear, I’m not paying these people! They just keep showing up, like I’m laying food out for them.)

This week we’re joined by Katie, who I met on the TFioS imdb page, because when I’m not here hating John Green, I make sure to spread the gospel wherever I go.

I know, I'm amazing. (Also, why can't I find a racially-accurate image of Jesus? Also also, this is hilarious and better than anything I
I do it for you, my children. (Also, this is hilarious and better than anything I’ll be able to write.)

Anyway, we got to chatting and she happens to be able to point out medical errors, which is far superior to my ability of just sort of vaguely assuming Green’s wrong (because I believe in playing the odds). Plus she’s funny and I like to promote funny people, so I figured I’d give myself a break this week — I am so blessed that my guest bloggers appear during the most stressful times, because otherwise I’d be wrung dry — and let her do some of the heavy lifting. You can read everything she has to say here, because she doesn’t have her own blog and needed a place for her thoughts to squat.

In the words of the best plumber who never does his actual job, let’s-a go!

I'm excited!
I’m excited!

As per usual, Green will be quoted, Katie will be boldand I will be regular.

On the flight home, twenty thousand feet above clouds that were ten thousand feet above the ground

Would it really have been too difficult to say “30,000 feet above the ground”? I know you’re about to have a pointless conversation about clouds, but there has to be a better way of saying that. Or were you short a couple words this chapter?

“Like it would be like one of those inflatable moonwalk machines, except for always.”

Speaking of better ways to word things . . .

I smell Sunshine stealing “always” from Isaac, who we all know isn’t using that anymore.

It’s like recycling! Or upcycling!

DIY-crayon-candle-NAILED-IT-400x795

“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.”

Sounds like a science teacher. It’s not like he was talking to 5-year-olds; what, did you want him to lie to you?

Something middle-schoolers should not think is possible.
Something middle-schoolers should not think is possible.

“He specialized in the murder of dreams, Hazel Grace, let me tell you.”

Again, some might call it teaching.

Really, Gus? If you feel that strongly about it, why are you about to tell Sunshine what this “dream murderer” told you, with way too much bleak passion in your voice? Because you clearly enjoy doing the exact same thing:

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.

Here I’m just wondering how corpses can scream.

Badly, it turns out.

A flight attendant walked through the aisle with a beverage cart, half whispering, “Drinks? Drinks? Drinks? Drinks?”

You read my mind. I already need a drink, and I’m only one-tenth through the chapter.

155t1ug

I feel you, girl.

Bottoms up!
Bottoms up! (Also, Katie looks adorable and I look like a zombie with skin problems. That’s what finals do to you, kids.)

“Could we have some champagne, please?”

“You’re twenty-one?” she asked dubiously.

You know, there’s this great thing called “identification” you can check to see if someone’s 21. In fact, it’s so useful that most places require ID to be shown before one can be served! Wouldn’t it be useful if this book took place in a world where that happened?

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.

Cancer Perks: Guilting people into losing their jobs!

yikes
I just realized that this flight attendant would be the second person to lose their job because of them (the first being Lid). Or the third, if you count Sunshine’s mom. These guys are going to single-handedly ruin the economy.

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. . . . 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.

Come to think of it, can they even have alcohol? It might react to their medications, but I don’t think either of them have checked that. I guess they’re just lucky that Magical Plot Cancer still allows them to booze it up whenever they want.

It’s Hazel Grace’s and Augustus’ world; everyone else just lives in it.

And thank God I do not, or I’d start seriously looking into intergalactic travel.

Worth it.
Worth it.

Armed with alcohol, they decide to whine about Van Houten, because in case you hadn’t figured it out, we’re not supposed to like him:

“You know,” Gus said to me, “everything Van Houten said was true.”

“Maybe, but he didn’t have to be such a douche about it.”

Do I need to bring up the whole “you invaded his house and acted like a psychopath” thing again?

“I can’t believe he imagined a future for Sisyphus the Hamster but not for Anna’s mom.”

HE WAS MESSING WITH YOU! I seriously can’t believe she doesn’t understand that he made that up on the spot just to screw with them. I just . . . did you learn nothing?!

stupid

“It was like it was personal,” Gus said quietly. “Like he was mad at us for some reason. Van Houten, I mean.”

GEE, I WONDER WHY.

Anyway, they finally get home and she bonds with her dad (her mom evaporates, apparently, because she doesn’t come back for the rest of this chapter. Maybe she’s having an affair with an agent in the hopes of being transferred to a better book):

“So I read An Imperial Affliction while you guys were gone,” Dad said.

How many copies of this book do you have lying around?

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.”

Good thing you aren’t a “literature guy,” because if you were, you would’ve hated it.

“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.”

Okay. I know your dad doesn’t have cancer, but he’s a lot older than you, spent time working in the Peace Corps, and his only child has cancer!

Stop acting like he doesn’t know what suffering is, because he probably knows better than you do, you ungrateful little upper-middle-class-white-girl-who-doesn’t-need-to-deal-with-actual-problems-unless-they’re-related-to-whining-about-your-magical-plot-cancer twit.

can't say that
Was that too mean?

“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.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Okay.”

UGH.

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. Gags.

ugh

Well, that’s enough familial bonding for one week. Let’s go to Mr. Psycho’s house!

They were attacking the cancer with a new cocktail: two chemo drugs and a protein receptor that they hoped would turn off the oncogene in Gus’s cancer. He was lucky to get enrolled in the trial, they told me. Lucky. I knew one of the drugs. Hearing the sound of its name made me want to barf.

This whole anti-doctor attitude is infuriating. It’s like Green’s trying to discourage kids with cancer from seeking treatment.

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.

It gives him carte blanche to say whatever he wants in his terrible book and still seem like a saint.

criticism

After a while, Isaac’s mom brought him over.

“Isaac, hi, it’s Hazel from Support Group, not your evil ex-girlfriend.”

Why would Monica be at Gus’ house?! There is literally no reason to say this except to be cruel—oh, I’m sorry, “witty.”

Because Isaac would want to be reminded of her out of the blue. Yes siree.

The medicine slowed his speech a bit, but only to the speed of regular people.

Because Gus is the best ever, we get it, enough.

“I’m on a roller coaster that only goes up, kid,” Gus answered.

That’s gonna become a catchphrase, isn’t it?

08-rupauls-drag-race-adore-delano-doesnt-like-it-6-7

“How are the eyes?”

“Oh, excellent,” he said. “I mean, they’re not in my head is the only problem.”

“Awesome, yeah,” Gus said. “Not to one-up you or anything, but my body is made out of cancer.”

Okay, that was actually rather funny. Still sounds about as natural as Dolly Parton’s boobs, but at least this time Green tries to be funny and succeeds.

I’ll take what I can get, at this point.

So then they . . . wait, what?

ha, wait, what?

So apparently I’m at 2,050 words. I guess this chapter had a lot more stupid in it than I’d previously assumed. It’s also 3 a.m. (Well, it was when I wrote this, anyway. It’s now 11 p.m. 2 days later because I’m a lazy turd.)

Huh.

I guess . . . I’ll just break this up into 2 parts? I feel kinda bad, because literally nothing happened in this post (and a solid 300 words are just me rambling about finals and drag queens and why I need more people to do my job for me), but to be fair nothing happened in this chapter, so I’m just being true to my source material.

Hey, if you expected The Drunk Librarian to be anything but a train wreck, you haven’t been paying attention. Katie and I will see you next week, when our darling heroes will commit felonies in the most adorably charming way!

Regret-nothing-friends
Best. Blog. Ever.
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2 thoughts on “Cover to Cover: The Fault in Our Stars, Ch. 14 Part 1

  1. ““He specialized in the murder of dreams, Hazel Grace, let me tell you.””

    “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.”

    On the one hand I see how much he’s projecting his own negative feelings about his life, on the other hand I just feel insulted. Science doesn’t murder dreams, asshole. Quite the contrary, it’s a major factor that fuels imagination because both science and fantasy ask the question “what if?” Of course science is about finding facts in the universe, but a lot of those facts weren’t discovered if it weren’t for scientists asking the question “what if?” and then trying it out to see if it works. This reminds me of the time I took an astronomy class in college and my professor teased me about me being a creative writing student and asking out-of-the-box questions that would probably fit better in a science fiction class than a hard science class. If Gus took his class he’d probably decry him a murderer of dreams too before he got laughed out of the class.

    Gus also seems to have difficulty with contradictory emotions. You can be in awe and admiration of a volcano while still fearful of the several ways it can kill you if you get too close. You can look at the cloud cover and pretend to be able to live in cloud kingdoms while still acknowledging that you’d be dead if you were dropped on a cloud 30,000 feet above land. You still drink water even though too much can drown you.

    Also I love his extra bitter “it’s just soulless molecules bouncing around randomly.” Yeah and it’s those same molecules that are the building blocks for that pie hole you can’t keep shut for five minutes, bro. I’m sorry those molecules gave you cancer but it’s also the near countless molecules that formed the bodies of trillions of living organisms on the (as far as we know) only planet in our solar system that is able to sustain organic life. Sorry not sorry if that means you aren’t the specialist snowflake in all the land, because as well all know, your ego just cannot deal with the fact that in time people are going to forget you ever existed.

    There has got to be a better way to deal with mortality and your existence being forgotten. Like there’s some great discussion to be had with these subjects, like “what do I define as my existence?” or “can I claim existence even though I’ll be forgotten?” or “if I die today, how long before my boyfriend gets over me?”

    /rantover

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, his mind is really trapped in a black-or-white world . . . which I’m sure Green would defend as being totally intentional and how teenagers think, etc., but for like the 50th time I’m going to have to shout “FRAMING!” There are ways of expressing teenager’s thoughts, etc. without making it sound like that’s also the author’s opinion and what the reader should think . . . which I’m not convinced this isn’t, but yeah. I just had a final so much brain is mush, but I think “your comment is brilliant as always and Green is stupid” is basically my thesis.

    Like

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