Aren’t we all self-torturing souls

I am literally just done crying as I’m writing this. No. No boy broke my heart this time. I’m simply flabbergasted by how much I was touched by John Green’s bestseller The Fault in Our Stars.

I have seen that book in book stores before, but it never interested me. I have never had the slightest intention of reading it until I saw a quote from the book on Pinterest this very afternoon. Fast forward six hours later, I’m sitting next to a box of Kleenex, staring at the highlights I’ve marked in the book, wondering whether I want a love like that.

Spoiler alert: The Fault in Our Stars is about two high school kids with cancer who met at a support group meeting. Teenage dramas have become some sort of a turn off for me now because, as much as I wish, I’m so not a teenager anymore. Half-way into the book, my experienced TV-watching/book-reading brain saw the twist coming. I knew the girl who was supposed to die first wasn’t gonna die. I knew the seemingly healthy guy was gonna be the real problem. I was right. The plot is reminiscent of many cheesy soapy Korea dramas, or even the 1970s bestseller/blockbuster whose appeal I never understood — Love Story.

The plot of The Fault in Our Stars isn’t anything unpredictable, but John Green did an amazing job in portraying how cancer patients feel about so-called care and consolations rendered by strangers/acquaintances, how phoney, half-ass sympathies are worse than none at all. At first, I thought Hazel (whose last name happens to be Lancaster) and Augustus falling in love was just too convenient. Now that I’ve reflected more on it, who hasn’t fallen head-over-heel in love before? The feeling of meeting someone so special is electrifying and logic-abandoning. When you find love, you just know. You’re drawn to that person, and nothing can stop that, not even yourself. If you are level-headed enough to take a step back and think through it before diving in, it’s just not the same kind of all consuming love we are celebrating here.

Their courtship was short. I think it lasted no longer than three months in the book, so they never got to fight I guess? Their love affair was brief but intense. I do believe they shared a special kind of connection that only soul mates do. They are two star-crossed kids tormented by their respective ailments, which is really sad, but Augustus did love Hazel until the very end. (Shit! I’m crying all over again!) Until his last breathe, he loved her. This is something that I still can’t figure out if I desire. I’d want my one true love to be my last love, but I’d wanna at least be able to grow old with him!

Besides my own novel Florid Eyes: A Novel, the last time I felt so effected by a love story was when I watched The Notebook with my ex and his late father. We were sitting in the living room, and my sobbing made the situation quite awkward. To this day I still remember myself thinking, I wish someone would love me that much. 

Almost a decade later, I’m still crying over two fictional lovers, thinking, I wish someone would love me that much. 

I know I say things like that whenever I see hot vampires on TV, but those shows are different because those hunks usually don’t freaking die after declaring their undying love. Knowing someone is gonna die and still deciding to set yourself up for future heartaches just for the brief moments of joy is the ultimate act of bravery and love.

It’s beyond comprehendable that human beings would intentionally read/watch/write tragedies to create this emotional hollows in their hearts. As a writer, I’m also guilty for that. Why do we torture ourselves like that? I wish I had the answer.

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About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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