It’s time for Cover to Cover: Let’s See if Anything Actually Happens This Time Edition!
Last week was nothing. Literally there were no interesting plot developments, character growth, or impromptu dance numbers from beginning to end, and it was only with the help of a lovely woman named Katie that I managed to get through it at all.
It was boring, is what I’m trying to say.
Luckily this time stuff . . . happens? I think? It’s kinda hard to tell with this novel, but I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to consider the second half of this chapter an entertaining and hilarious diversion.
WAIT! Before we begin, I must admit a few things that I — and more importantly, John Green — was wrong about. Apparently he knows about as much about flying as he does about video games and not desecrating monuments to the dead, because I got a message from Some Guy on Facebook (yes, that’s his real name), who was less than pleased with the chapter:
Thanks, Some Guy! (Seriously, Matt studied Aviation Management with Flight, whatever the hell that means. He’s a smarty, and I always welcome a chance to point out ways in which Green fails as a person.)
Anyway, Katie and I last left our lovebirds sitting around with Isaac, doing — you guessed it! — nothing.
The adults headed down to the basement to commiserate or whatever
Sure, just assume they’re being self-pitying. Because as we all know, parents of children with cancer are so needlessly melodramatic and selfish.
Augustus turned his head to us, the waking up slow. “How’s Monica?” he asked.
What about asking how Isaac is, dude? He lost his vision, and all you can think of is to bring up the girl who dumped him as a reminder that oh yeah, that’s another thing he doesn’t have!
Turns out Monica hasn’t spoken with Isaac. As someone who broke up with a significant other for emotional-health reasons, I really sympathize with her. When a relationship’s ending isn’t mutual (or amicable), the best thing to do is cut off all communication; otherwise, it’s like you’re rubbing it in their face that you’re not in their life the way they want you to be.
“Being friends” is one of those concepts that really only works if you were friends before, the breakup was something you both agreed on, and/or you’re a masochist who wants the heartbreak to be drawn out for as long as humanly possible. It’s kinder to just end things completely, like ripping off a Band-Aid.
“She hasn’t even, like, texted you to ask how you’re doing?” I asked. This struck me as an unfathomable injustice.
“Total radio silence,” Isaac said.
“Ridiculous,” I said.
“I’ve stopped thinking about it. I don’t have time to have a girlfriend. I have like a full-time job Learning How to Be Blind.”
You know, that’s a rather mature way to look at it . . . surprising coming from Isaac, but maybe losing his vision gave him a new perspective on things. A new way of seeing, if you will.
But okay, this makes sense. I guess the best thing to do would be to stop thinking about it, let Isaac move on at his own pace, and spare his feelings by not fixating on it like a dog worrying a bone for your own selfish sense of justice.
Then out of nowhere Augustus said, “You can’t just not contact your former boyfriend after his eyes get cut out of his freaking head.”
Okay, let me lay a little truth down for you idiots, from my disastrous love life to yours: it would be cruel to contact Isaac immediately after losing his eyes. All it would accomplish is giving him false hope that you’ve suddenly fallen back in love with him, only to have it crushed by the reminder that nope, you really don’t want to get back together. Maybe she could have the family send a sympathy card, but nothing else. Let the poor kids get on with their lives.
“Just one of—” Isaac started.
“Hazel Grace, do you have four dollars?” asked Gus.
This is . . . The Egg Scene. It’s not as infamous as the Anne Frank Scene for obvious reasons, but it’s one of those times we realize that Gus is basically just human garbage, and in fact hearing Katie rant about it was the reason I contacted her in the first place.
You see, he decides that it’s in Isaac’s best interest to go egg his ex-girlfriend’s house.
Yes, despite the fact that Isaac seems more or less over Monica, despite the fact that it’s a crime, and that it’ll only serve to make Isaac (not Sunshine or Mr. Psycho) look bad in the eyes of everyone with a brain, Gus just feels too gosh-darn frustrated that justice hasn’t been served to this high-school girl who’s done nothing actually wrong.
None of this has anything to do with Isaac, what he wants, how he feels. It’s all part of Mr. Psycho’s hero complex, a desperately selfish last-ditch attempt to do something that’ll make him feel important, even if that “something” is terrible.
He’s a bad person, is what I’m getting at here.
Well, it’s off to commit vandalism! Let’s go!
I drove. Augustus rode shotgun. Isaac sat in the back. We stopped at a grocery store, where, per Augustus’s instruction, I bought a dozen eggs while he and Isaac waited in the car.
Did you tell your parents where you went? Because I don’t think they’d be cool with their blind, crippled, oxygen-toting children disappearing in the middle of the night without a word.
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).
And then Isaac guided us by his memory to Monica’s house, an aggressively sterile, twostory house near the JCC.
Wait . . . the house is like her! Because she’s a terrible person we’re supposed to hate! She’s a sterile, cold-hearted bitch, and her house reflects that! It’s a metaphor!
Monica’s bright green 1990s Pontiac Firebird sat fat-wheeled in the driveway.
“Is it there?” Isaac asked when he felt me coming to a stop.
“Oh, it’s there,” Augustus said. “You know what it looks like, Isaac? It looks like all the hopes we were foolish to hope.”
It looks like a goddamn car. Stop being a tool.
“So she’s inside?”
Gus turned his head around slowly to look at Isaac. “Who cares where she is? This is not about her. This is about you.”
No, it’s about you, but close enough.
Anyway, they egg the car, a scene that wouldn’t be bad if it weren’t so awful. There’s even a decent line:
I watched through the mirror as Gus helped Isaac out of the car, the two of them leaning on each other at the shoulder then tapering away, like praying hands that don’t quite meet at the palms.
See? That’s kinda nice. A little poetic, not too hamfisted. Solid writing, Green.
Now if only we could get rid of all of . . . this.
I rolled down the windows and watched from the car, because vandalism made me nervous.
At least she knows it’s illegal. No word on its moral wrongness, however, so no points. How does anyone think this is a good idea?
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!
Now I understand! Wow, this is such a fabulous scene that’s so easy to relate to!
Oh, who am I kidding?
They take a picture to capture this charming moment . . . because they apparently have no comprehension of what “incriminating evidence” means, but are interrupted by the appearance of Monica’s mother.
“What,” asked the middle-aged woman a moment after I’d snapped the picture, “in God’s name—” and then she stopped talking.
“Ma’am,” Augustus said, nodding toward her, “your daughter’s car has just been deservedly egged by a blind man. Please close the door and go back inside or we’ll be forced to call the police.” After wavering for a moment, Monica’s mom closed the door and disappeared.
To call the police, right? I’m assuming that’s where she went, because this is illegal and no amount of Mr. Psycho’s blathering makes it okay.
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?
Isaac threw the last three eggs in quick succession and 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 love how they judge other people as inferior, and then turn around and whine about how much it pisses them off when others might be judging them.
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’m going to assume that at the end of this chapter, these three return to Mr. Psycho’s to find their parents furious and the police outside the door, having been called both by the adults and Monica’s mother. Because in the real world, actions have consequences, and what they did was illegal, mean-spirited, and oh yeah, illegal!
I never took another picture of him.
At least you’ll have his mug shot to remember him by.
Okay, this nasty, stupid, what-am-I-even-looking-at? chapter is finally over. Hearty thanks to Matt and Katie for helping me illustrate why Green is just the worst, and I’m going to go kill everything now.