Like every third person on the planet, I too picked up “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green and gave it a go. It’s a charming story, one of the few that’s gripped me enough to go through it end to end in a matter of days. I recommended it to most people I crossed on the street, a few on the bus, and to an unfortunate bunch at an assortment of urinals.
It’s touching and heart-breaking, and it’s safe to say that a 16 (or 26) year old would rather have the book hurled at them at full force because it would cause them less anguish than the story itself.
Let me quickly summarize it for you. Hazel is a terminally ill cancer patient who falls in love with the focus of this post (Augustus Waters) who is also a terminally ill cancer patient.
THE HORROR OF IT ALL.
Fairly predictably, they both die (clue: terminally ill), but not before embarking on a journey riddled with love so profound that even Romeo and Juliet would have obliged with a standing ovation, waving handkerchiefs et al.
So here’s the thing, Augustus Waters is perfect. Isn’t he, girls? My Facebook feed over the past month has been riddled with scores of girls (albeit, all in the 15-25 age group) swooning over the character of Augustus Waters, and cursing John Green for creating a man so perfect.
Except of course for the fact, that John Green did nothing of the sort.
Augustus Waters is a world-class douchebag, which is why the girls love him.
Gus Waters hates taking no for an answer, is pushy, latches on to the girl he likes, is riddled with metaphors, and often quotes (incorrectly) a number of philosophers. A conversation with Gus Waters involves him throwing the corniest of one-liners or the latest Facebook status messages at you, which may or may not have anything to do with the conversation at hand.
Of course, Hazel does feel like she’s having the deepest conversation of her life each time she speaks to Gus because no matter what she says, a brooding, “Life is all about the choices you make Hazel Grace, it defines your path”, would be a line suitable to be infused into any sort of verbal exchange, wouldn’t it?
While he gets Hazel to blurt out everything about her life and share her deepest secrets, he reveals nothing of his own life to Hazel, because – if he doesn’t keep up that whole mysterious aura, what’s the point in this entire James Dean charade, right?
On closer inspection of Gus Waters, it’s revealed that the literature he has at hand are almost primarily centered around his favorite video games, yet his insistence on quoting Plato and Aristotle at the drop of a hat could be downright puzzling, but it fits into Gus Waters’ personality perfectly when you think about it. He fakes most of who he portrays himself to be.
Yes, Gus has a positive side to him, we all do. He truly cares about Hazel, he goes to exceptional lengths to make Hazel’s lifelong dream come true even though it’s been shattered once after a Herculean attempt from both parties involved.
Yet all said and done, Augustus Waters is far from the perfect man, and the fact that he is idolized by so many only drives home one simple fact: we love illusions.
And that’s exactly what Augustus Waters is – an illusion.