We all have books with a special place in our hearts, for reasons more than the words written in them. Perhaps they changed the way we think about the world, are attached to happy memories or got us through a difficult time in our lives. In this new feature, I will be sharing my own ‘Stories Beyond Books’ and it would be wonderful if you could share yours too!
This week I decided to write my Story Beyond Books about a book that meant something important to me during my teenage years. As a teenager reading was an even bigger part of my life than it is now – with less studying and responsibilities, my page count must have been through the roof! This made it so hard to choose just one special book from this part of my life, but I eventually settled on The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Click here to read Stories Beyond Books Part 1: Childhood.
Synopsis: Hazel is a cancer patient – her life is a tedious routine of daytime television, being driven to appointments by her Mum and the cancer support group that she has always dreaded. That is, until she meets Gus, slightly crazy but loveable, at one of the sessions. Both of them are sure they know everything there is to know about life and how their illness fits into it… but the friendship and love growing between them is set to dramatically uproot these perspectives.
I think that something a lot of people experience as a teenager – I certainly did – is a sort of mini existential crisis. No longer living in the moment, there is increasing pressure to make sacrifices in the present to help your future – which seems to consist of an invariant path through uni, a secure job, paying bills, marriage, children and retirement. Caught in a frustrating cycle of study, extra-curricular activities and exams mirrored by almost everyone around you, it can be hard to feel that you will ever achieve anything special or leave that elusive ‘mark’ on the world.
This, for me, is where The Fault in Our Stars came in. It has a beautiful message that we may not leave a mark on the entire world, but we can create treasured memories in the minds of the small number of people whose lives we touch. Just to be loved by a few of those people closest to us is a unique and special thing. This really resounded with me and felt something like breathing a sigh of relief. It is summed up perfectly in this quote, which is one of my favourites in any book I have ever read:
I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
Cover image courtesy of Goodreads.
What is your teenage Story Beyond Books? Please do let me know in the comments; I am looking forward to reading them!
Look out for Part 3 next week – Stories Beyond Books: Adulthood.