Sometimes books and authors fall into the category of guilty pleasures, and Sophie Kinsella most definitely meets that description for me. Her books may not be literary, or about important things, but they almost always make me smile (or even laugh out loud) and that is sometimes all that is needed.
This book did have some genuine laugh-out-loud moments and it certainly proved an effective distraction for a while. If I was being picky I might say that I didn’t like the frequent switching of narrative perspective all that much and at times the focus on sex was a bit annoying.
However, sometimes reading a book with a happy ending that makes you smile is its own reward. Pure rom-com escapism.
I’ve been reading this book for the last 2 weeks and everyone seems to want to talk to me about it… “Are you enjoying it?” “How far into it are you?” It’s one of those books that the people around me all seem to be reading.
But here’s the problem – whilst it wasn’t the worst book I’ve read this year, it just doesn’t live up to the hype.
It tells the story of 17 year old Hazel who has terminal cancer. One day at support group she meets Augustus who has seemingly recovered from osteosarcoma following an amputation. They fall in love almost instantly, in that way that only teenagers can. Along the way they travel to Amsterdam in pursuit of an elusive author, before the novel reaches its (spoiler alert) tragic conclusion.
It’s really hard to explain what it was about this book that just didn’t grab me – although it probably begins and ends with the fact that stories about teenagers with cancer aren’t really my cup of tea. Or perhaps that the tragic romance is primarily designed to appeal to teenage girls.
I’m not saying I wouldn’t recommend it, it just didn’t seem to live up to the ‘buzz’ that seems to surround it.