Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars

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As promised, I am working through a reading list, and will be reviewing them as I read them. I’m starting this little project with all the can-do attitude I have, and I hope (very sincerely and earnestly), that I’ll finish this project. I don’t want to let too much time lapse between each book on the list, because I’m afraid I might get demotivated. However, sometimes after a good book, you suffer from a Book Hangover. That’s when you need some time to recover from the literary world you have just left.

I am not ashamed to admit that even though I am in my late twenties, I have read quite a few Young Adult books. They often deal with the same themes as “serious” books, but they are easy to read. And sometimes, all you want is a book that doesn’t give you a headache. And that’s okay. The first book that I read, was The Fault In Our Stars by John Greene. Even though The Fault In Our Stars is technically a Young Adult novel, I really do feel like any person could enjoy it, and all of us could learn something from it.

What an emotional rollercoaster. Gosh, I was crying throughout the book, in various levels of intensity of the “ugly cry”. This is not a book to read if you’re looking for a lighthearted and fun read. It’s a serious read, even though it’s not long.

The two main characters in the book are Hazel and Augustus. They both are living through the tragedy that is adolescent cancer. Both are teenagers, trying to get by in a world where they kind of feel like outsiders. She is an amazingly geeky and intelligent girl, but is very insecure about her role in her family and social circle, wary of being a burden. She shuts herself out from the act of “living life”. Augustus is the typical American jock boy. He’s fun, energetic, dreamy and positive. Regardless of the struggles he has had to endure, he keeps himself strong. Their paths cross, and that’s where the story really begins.

I am weary to give away too much, which is what I normally do when I tell my beau about whatever book I’m reading. I end up giving him a complete recount of the book, cliffhangers and dramatic revelations and all.

I will say this about the book though. The pair fall in love. They get to travel. And as far as I am concerned, the author got the imagery of their travels spot on. I have been where they go (again, I don’t want to say too much, as it is an integral part of the story) and I can tell you, if you read it, that is EXACTLY what it looks like, sounds like, smells like. A tip of my pen to the author.

There are many themes in this book, all of which everyone can relate to, whether you have had to experience cancer on some level or not. There is love. New, uncertain, clumsy, messy first love. Familial love and the blurred lines of duty and guilt and love in family life. There is heartache and heartbreak. Isolation plays a big role in Hazel’s life, of her own doing as well as the nature of society. It’s interesting to see how she deals with that. There’s also obviously a running theme of mortality and religion, how they’re intertwined, and how the characters deal with each of these issues.

It is a heart wrenching story, from which I have learnt a very valuable lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. We’re taught by society that showing pain and dealing with it where people can see is unacceptable. There’s a reason “Get over it” is so popular. Because people don’t like to deal with uncomfortable situations. What I’ve learnt is this: You can take the time you need to deal with whatever life throws at you in your own time. It is your life. You deserve to have a happy soul. And if that means that you’re “still” crying over that thing, so be it. That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.

So feel it.

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Officially Off the Market

Gasp!

You guys, I’ve been such a bad blogger…I’m so very sorry. BUT, I have huge news!

I’m engaged!… Here’s our story:

We planned a trip to Europe with his family, and the family decided to rent a chateau in France for Christmas. As the time grew closer, I kept thinking that a proposal in Paris would be epic! When I finally jokingly mentioned it to him, he very emphatically (and repeatedly) stated that the trip to Europe was all I could hope for, since he was taking me for almost 4 weeks, and travelling in Europe is super expensive. A couple of weeks before our departure he told me that he had the choice of a ring, or our trip, and he obviously chose the trip. I was clearly disappointed, and he apologised and told me that we might be able to afford a ring in 2014. Then, a couple of days before we left, he told me that we would have to use some of the money I had kept aside for my planned IKEA shopping spree (it should be noted that this was money I had saved for almost a year, and had kept separate from our joint Europe savings) to pay for the accommodation in France, and our visas. I was fuming. Livid, really. We had a huge fight, and I couldn’t understand where all his money went, and I was upset that I had to sacrifice MY savings! (Yes, I was being a brat – I know that…I am quite ashamed of that… ) He told me that the flights were more expensive than what he budgeted for, and that we really didn’t have a choice but to use my IKEA fund. We left it there, and moved on. I didn’t give it another thought.

Throughout the first week and a half our trip, we were in Amsterdam, visiting with Faul’s eldest brother and his wife and kids. I secretly kept hoping that there might be a proposal, but knew in the back of my head it wouldn’t happen.

We departed for France in our rental car on 22 December, and spent one night in Brussels, before driving the rest of the way to France. On the 24th, we went into Paris for the first time. (Our house was about 40mins’ train ride outside of the city) We were shown around by his eldest brother, with almost the entire family with us. We went to go see the Notre Dame and then walked to the Pont Neuf – the oldest bridge in Paris, where his brother told us a bit about the city. We all decided to go to a café for drinks, but Faul held me back. He said he wanted to go down the stairs at the bridge, because the bridge runs over a little island and he wanted to go look. I wasn’t really feeling it, because it started drizzling a bit, and it was cold! I told him we had a whole week in France, and that we could come back another day…But he insisted, so down we went. As we walked to the tip of the island, he grew quiet, holding my hand very tightly. We got to the end of the island, and there were three very dodgy looking Eastern European guys just standing around, smoking and talking in hushed tones. It was very freaky, and we felt the need to leave! He then said we should just take a picture and get out of there, and he looked quite sad.

We started walking back to the bridge, and halfway to the stairs, he stopped and snaked one arm around my waist and kissed me. We were kissing in the cold wind, with tiny droplets of rain falling on our skins – when I felt a smile on his lips against my lips. I felt his body moving a bit, and could tell his free arm was reaching into his pocket, when without moving his lips from mine, he said that he had something to ask me…

I started squealing, and jumping up and down, when he took the box out of his pocket. When he opened it, my heart stopped. It was the most gorgeous ring I have ever seen – and exactly what I wanted. He said he wasn’t going down on one knee, because it was wet (and he had new pants on!) but he wanted to know if I would marry him. It took me a couple of minutes to answer, after all, talking is difficult if you’re squealing and kissing the love of your life all over his face.

We walked to a café, where his family were waiting with a bottle of French Champagne to congratulate us, and I was showing my ring off to anyone who even glanced our way!

We added a padlock in the lovers tradition to the fence on the Pont des Arts, the bridge right next to the Pont Neuf. We placed it directly in line with the tip of the island – forever commemorating the place where we got engaged.

It was such a magical day. It is such a magical time.

I’ve entered a competition to win an AMAZEBALLS prize for our wedding, and would love it (and adore you) if you would click on this link and leave a comment: http://saweddingvenues.com/proposals-2014/marle-faul/

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More about our trip later!

Later, dolls. (Go comment – do it. Do it now.)

 

Christmas!

Okay, so I know it’s VERY early, but early bird catches the worm, right? So, I am very excited, and extremely happy to report, that I just bought my man his Christmas gift. And let me tell you something: If this doesn’t make me the best girlfriend IN. THE. WORLD, then I really don’t know what will.

Obviously, I can’t share with you what it is, because he reads my blog. But what I can tell you is this: I had to buy it this early, because it needs to be shipped from overseas, and I don’t want to take the chance that it might be late. Also, this gift, will surpass all gifts ever. His head is going to explode. I kid you not. I am so excited!

The thing I love most about gift giving (and I know this is selfish) is that I love how it makes me feel to see how the person reacts. It makes me feel good. I always put a lot of thought into gifts, and I try to make it very personal. And this gift, is exactly that. It’s personal, and close to his heart. By now, I am pretty sure there will be steam coming out of his ears trying to figure out what it is. Ha! I love it!

On a side-note, I’m almost positive this week. Tomorrow is the little sis’ 18th birthday. I just can’t believe it. So this weekend, I’m off, and my big sister and her husband are also coming for the weekend, along with my mom. And the weekend after that, I’m off (again!) and will be going to the man’s, where I will be young again, going to see a punk show and hopefully staying awake past 10pm.

Then, at the end of November, we will be going to see 30 Seconds to Mars! Yay. Jared Leto. Enough said.

Hope you have a good week. I’m hoping I can stay positive for a while.

Much Love