The Fault In His Stars- My Problem with John Green

The Fault In His Stars- My Problem with John Green

Abeera Chaudhri, Journalist

We all know and have probably read the work of John Green. He is often referred to as the “King of YA literature” and is held as the standard for teen books. With all the praise that Green’s books get, I was eager to read them for myself. After having read numerous novels by him, I can confidently say that I understand why people enjoy them. However, for me, the problems that I saw with his books outweighed the writing style and plots. 

One of my biggest issues with Green’s writing is the lack of diversity. Whether we are referring to racial, gender, sexuality, or personality, all of Green’s characters are cut from the same mold. The same stereotypes are present in each of his books. There are some exceptions to this such as in his “Abundance of Katherines”, but when a character is placed with the intention to incorporate diversity it feels a little forced. His work lacks originality, especially with the main characters. The books are not insanely plot driven and are often more about internal and personal conflict. That is great and all, except when the conflict is the same every time and the person is presented with a similar set of issues. 

Another reason to be wary of his writing is with his most popular novel “The Fault in Our Stars,” which has a very well known movie adaptation. This story follows two cancer patients and their star crossed love story. Now, as I am not a cancer patient I cannot speak on how accurately he presented this information but I came across numerous critiques on this book from people that had cancer and felt misrepresented. There were claims that he provided too much false hope, unrealistic treatment, and glamorization of a serious illness. This issue is something that you can look more into by reading the views of cancer patients, but it was significant enough to be brought up due to the popularity of this novel. 

Who am I to say what is problematic and not? No one would understand anyways. And that is because I am not like other girls. I hope everyone that read that felt repulsed even slightly. This is my final point. There is some sort of obsession in Green’s writing with the “not like other girls,” bubbly, and quirky characters. I understand that eccentricity when building a realistic character is important, but as I mentioned earlier, there comes a point where all his characters can be lumped into this specific category. 

I am sure after hearing my pitches against Green, your first thought may be that I hate him. While I am not a fan of his writing, the intent is not going to discourage anyone from reading his books, I implore you to take a look for yourself. The idolization of John Green is the primary issue. Certain things cannot be excused simply because he is popular and well loved. As long as you keep these issues in mind while reading and do not remain ignorant, then there is no shame in reading something that you enjoy!