The Rad Readalong: “The Fault in Our Stars” Chapter Ten

Posted: April 29, 2015 in Rad Readalong
Tags: , , , ,

The day of the flight to Amsterdam finally arrives and Ma is suitably (and adorably) excited. She wakes up Hazel by shouting “AMSTERDAM!”. I think I like Ma so much, because when she gets to be her own person and not just Hazel’s mom, she is very much like my own mum and my mum is awesome.

Hazel and Ma have been arguing about who gets the most room in their shared suitcase. The whole debate ends with each of them getting half, Hazel points out none of them win this way and the line “So it goes” is used. Is that a common expression in English? Because I have only ever seen it in Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 so I instantly thought of that, but if there is supposed to be a connection I missed it. To me, the two books seem quite dissimilar. Did Green intend to reference Vonnegut or does “So it goes” have some other connotation?

Anyway, back to the book (briefly). Hazel wonders why some foods are inherently breakfast foods and I can totally get behind her in her quest for answers. I was wondering just the same the other day. Growing up in a non-american culture, but having so much cultural input from the U.S. can be strange sometimes. Take pancakes for instance. Pancakes for breakfast are weird!
When I was a child and I heard Americans ate pancakes for breakfast, I first thought it was a joke. When I realized it was very real, I thought the U.S. must be the most amazing place in the world. Dessert for breakfast; It seemed like a dream!
Then I had American pancakes for the first time and the dream burst like a soap bubble on a blade of grass. It was horrible.
I feel very strongly about pancakes and their place is not on the breakfast table.

*Ahem*

Ma and Hazel hop in the car and say goodbye to Pa who is crying. Aw!
When they get to Augie’s house, he is in the middle of a screaming match with his mom. The words “Because it’s my life, mom. It belongs to me.” are heard and I suppose every teenager has said something similar at some point, but this sneaking suspicion I have had for a while comes creeping back.
I think Augie is sick.

All three of them get to the airport where people are staring at the limping boy and the girl with the air tank. This pisses both Augie and Hazel off. I get why, but it really should not.
When you are different, whether by choice or accident, people will take notice. It is what you decide to do with that attention that matters. Do you get angry? Do you use it as a stage? Do you accept that it is human nature to be curious?
Is it unpleasant whenever a small child asks me if I am a boy or a girl, or whenever a car full of young dudes zooms by the bar yelling “FAGGOTS!”, or when I am kicked out of a bar for kissing a girl while straight couples are almost having sex on the dance floor? Sure it is, but if I let myself get angry, I give it more value than it deserves and I refuse to let other people’s curiosity or stupidity steer my life.

I want to note that in this, the tenth chapter of the book, Hazel has started calling Augie by the nickname his parents use; Gus. I will not be following her example and I am sure I have on numerous occasions made my feelings about both names clear. That is all, thank you.

Augie, like an idiot, pulls out a smoke on the plane. A stewardess tells him “nuh-uh”. He makes an attempt at explaining the whole “cigarettes kill, but I won’t let them” thing, but she shuts him down. Stewardess: 1, Stupid metaphor: 0!

The plane takes off and Augie has apparently never flown before. He is excited and cute and I cannot help but recall my own first flight. (I was 11, it was from Copenhagen to Glasgow.)

Augie seems to have two distinct personalities. Hazel even mentions it here. There is the one she calls Augustus; He is the metaphorically smoking, cool acting young man. And there is the one she calls Gus who is easily excited by the joys of life, wondrous and playful like a child.
I wonder which one of the two decided to go to Amsterdam despite being sick?

Hazel and Augie watch movies on the flight, including 300 which is just not very good at all. Not even Lena Headey could save that mess.
The war, gore and bloodshed of 300 inspires a talk of how many people have died during human history. Turns out it is a whole lot and a really weird thing to think about.

Augie then makes Hazel recite a poem and she chooses the first stanza of a J. Alfred Prufrock poem. (I’m not even going to pretend I recognized the poem or even that I know who Prufrock is. Google ftw!) The part Hazel recites sounds like a love poem, but when I found and read the whole thing online, it seemed to be about being young, becoming old and finally dying. Cheerful!
At least Augie seems to thinks so, because he tells Hazel he is in love with her. The world is a horrible place and life ends in death, but he is in love with her.
Hazel’s only reply is “Augustus”, letting us know that this is one of his grand gestures and she would rather have heard Gus saying those words.

Will Hazel say those three little words? Will Gus? Will I ever get over my childhood pancake-related trauma? Chapter 11 might bring us the answers next week. (Probably not to the last question though.)

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