Adapting a beloved novel for the big screen is often an enormous challenge, even with books written with cinema in mind. Most stories don’t automatically come with a two hour screenplay attached, and the process of fitting that story into a film can be troublesome for the filmmakers and heartbreaking for fans. Some things will naturally have to be cut in order to fit into the running time, while others will have to be changed or rewritten in order to work on the screen (and heaven forbid the filmmakers add something that was never in the book). Then there’s the struggle to find the right tone and perspective, where humor and pathos have to be transitioned to the screen but also balanced in the right mix to feel true to the author’s intent. If you’re too faithful to the novel you might alienate viewers who are unfamiliar with the source, but if you go too broad then you might risk diluting what made the story so special in the first place. So it’s a pleasant surprise that the film version of The Fault in Our Stars is such a success.
It would be next to impossible for me to write a review of The Fault in Our Stars at this point. The book has become a part of the pop culture landscape, an iconic work that will forever be a part of a generation’s vocabulary. It’s also been out for two years and has surpassed the point where any review that I could write would mean anything to anyone. So instead, I decided to do one of my “not quite a review” posts, with some general thoughts about the book and my experiences with it, because the last thing it needs at this point is one more review.