John Green, we need to talk.

Posted on January 23, 2012 in Reading / 2 Comments

There are a few, very few authors whose books I positively despise, but whose writing style I can’t tear myself away from.  For a long time, this was Laurell K. Hamilton, who weaves an enchanting story, but I think I’m the only 22-year-old American Female who would rather have sex than read about it.  Eventually I broke free of Anita Blake and have been safe and sound, for the most part, for several years.

Then came John Green.Sunday Auditorium Series Speaker: John Green

Infamous writer-half of the VlogBrothers team, John Green is brilliant.  He is witty and smart and just the right level of eccentric that you can learn new and interesting things from him without feeling a bit concerned about his sanity.  Besides writing the occasional book (and the joke is that it is really the occasional book – we get a new one every five years.  Or so.) he uploads three videos weekly on YouTube and takes trips around the world and is a father to a small child.  I like that he is human, and shows everyone exactly how human he is.  John Green is not a pretentious author by any means.  Generally, he seems to be an all-around nice guy, though I like to imagine he is awkward in crowds.

I outline all this so you can become completely baffled as to why I harbor a teeny tiny seed of hate for the man.

His books.  His books are also brilliant.  I read Paper Towns in the course of one evening.  In a public place.  Because I literally could not put it down.  The only way I could have become more attached to that book was if I had been superglued to it, and honestly, I can imagine much worse fates than being superglued to Paper Towns.  But as much as I thought that book was wonderful, I found myself sad and disappointed with the ending.  And also with the ending of Looking for Alaska.  Less so with An Abundance of Katherines.  Incredibly so with The Fault in Our Stars.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I won’t talk too much about the details in The Fault in Our Stars (since at some point I am actually going to write a review about it), but it will suffice to say that the book did not lack John Green’s typical humor and wit, and well as intellectual prowess and compelling internalized reflection.  I finished the book on Saturday sitting on the couch in my boyfriend’s living room, listening to the melodius music of Modern Warfare 3 and with a kitten snuggled against my side.  And I cried.

Books don’t make me cry.  But John Green’s books, apparently, do.

I tried to explain to my manager about The Fault in Our Stars, and the description of the book that I gave him went something like this:  “It’s about a girl who’s dying of cancer and then goes to <<SPOILER>> but then the plot twists and <<SPOILER>> but it’s not actually depressing, it’s written hopefully, but not sappily.  It’s kind of funny, but not in a tasteless way.”  That was about the time I realised I was digging my own grave, and he gave me a strange look and said “Sounds like a good book to avoid.”

I wanted to flail and tell him that, no!  It is a truly excellent book from a remarkable author!  But then I realised that while I love (love, love, LOVE) his writing style, I am always depressed when I finished his books.  It’s like there’s a cup of poison in front of me, and I shouldn’t drink it, but it’s the most delightful shade of violet and I can hardly resist.


Are there any books out there that you love to hate?  That depress you, but you can’t resist reading?  That you know by all rights you should put down, but simply can’t?


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