I watch youtube. I watch youtube quite a lot, and tv series quite a lot, too. I don’t see much television, on reflection. One of the youtube channels I absolutely adore is called “Vlogbrothers“, which I thought was run by only one person – yes, the title could have given me some kind of clue, but it didn’t. I only realised that Hank and John were two completely different people and not older or more recent videos of the same person when I got to videos in which they spoke to each other. And I started thinking: who’s Hank? Is John (I thought they were both John) bipolar?! Ah ehm. Slight misunderstanding there…
So off I went on Amazon (watch the interview at the bottom of the page!) and bought myself a copy, which arrived just in time for my trip to Martinique.
I read it under the sun, beached on a chaise-longue with the smell of sun lotion and the taste of mojito in my mouth. Every now and then I’d look up to try and catch a frigate bird flying above me. The waves lapped on the palm trees that bordered the crystal-clear water. And I cried.
But I also laughed, and smiled, and thought, hard.
Because it’s not a sad story. It’s a story about love, friendship, bad luck, reality. It’s an honest narrative about young cancer patients (don’t worry: the fact that cancer is involved is not a spoiler, the book starts with this fact) and the disadvantages and perks (yes, there are perks!) of having the disease.
The descriptions are well written, the characters magnificently detailed, moulding and changing in a completely natural way and nearly without being noticed. All the elements are there: the dragon (cancer, of course), the bad guy (the obnoxious Van Houten) the knight in shining armour (Augustus Waters… a once-in-a-lifetime, I-love-you-too, I-hope-everyone-finds-someone-like-you hero), the best friend (Isaac, who lives on the brink) and, of course, the princess Hazel. Spiced up with ordinary adventures (as opposed to impossible ones that some authors force upon us readers), enveloped with witty remarks and inspiring sentences, the book is a short but lasting must read. Touching, funny, sad, inspiring – it has it all. Here’s my favourite quote, by Hazel, which will definitely stay with me forever:
How did scrambled eggs get stuck in with breakfast exclusivity? You can put bacon on a sandwich without anyone freaking out. But the moment your sandwich has an eggs, boom, it’s a breakfast sandwich. I want to have scrambled eggs for dinner without this ridiculous construction that scrambled eggs-inclusive meal is breakfast even when it occurs at dinnertime.
And I just discovered how to embed a video in my post. I love this. Enjoy!
PS all the images here are taken from the internet and are the work of John’s fans. Come on, you know you want to be one, too… ^_*