“The Fault in our Stars” Guiding my Path

Taylor Winbush, Guest Writer

Cancer is a treacherous, demeaning disease attacking people of all ages and sizes. Many people have stories to tell about their cancerous journey, but some, like this one, are left untold.

It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”

— Augustus Waters, The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars is one of the most interesting and enjoyable books I have had the pleasure of reading over the past three years. It’s about two high school students who share an illness known to many but still unique. Hazel Lancaster is 16 and fighting thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. Knowing that their daughter might be feeling deeply depressed and isolated, her parents insisted that she attend a cancer patient support group.  There she met Augustus Waters who suffered from a leg amputation that proved to be the result of cancer. Gus and Hazel became friends as they told each other of their experience. As time went by, Gus and Hazel shared more and more feelings about cancer and life. They grew close and finally fell in love.

Although the book as a whole is a beautiful work of art, my favorite quote is actually a life metaphor that came after a meeting while they were taking a walk.  Approaching the door to exit, Gus pulls out a cigarette and Hazel immediately protests. Gus puts the cigarette between his lips and says:  “You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.”

Clever quote, right?

I had the opportunity of interviewing a woman at a bookstore, and she revealed to me that “Everything here is real, especially the diseases. There isn’t any joking around about dying gracefully here, because cancer is ugly and unpleasant, and John Green makes you feel Hazel’s lungs struggling to breathe and the pain, and see the vomit and urine.”