A few years ago my aunt gave me a copy of The Fault in our Stars for my birthday. It wasn‘t the kind of gift that she had put a lot of thought into – it was a young adult bestselling novel, and my aunt needed a gift, so there you go. But I instantly fell in love with Hazel Grace and Augustus and their heartwarming story. Hardly a day went by that I didn‘t at least once open the book to find a favourite passage, to stroke the pages and get lost in John Green‘s beautiful words.
So, naturally, when I went to live in Honduras for six months last year TFIOS was the first thing I packed. And despite it being a sad story of a girl with terminal cancer, it always cheered me up. It‘s really not a book about death but a book about life. And it doesn‘t romanticise or glorify cancer or death or even life in any way, but it makes you want to live as much as you can. It makes you want to grasp for air, to just breathe, to fall in love, to hug your friends, to let your breath be taken away.
Before I left Honduras last July, I gave my copy of the book to one of my friends. I didn‘t even think twice about it – if anything can make you remember me, it‘s a book that has all my favourite parts underlined. And I didn‘t regret giving it away either; it‘s in good hands and I‘m glad I gave that person something that means so much to me.
I missed having the book, but I didn‘t want to go to a bookstore and replace it just like that. That just seems such an inappropriate thing to do when it comes to something you love. About a month ago I told the story to my Dutch penpal. I wasn‘t expecting anything in return, it was a mere reply to the TFIOS postcard she‘d attached to the letter. I was all the more surprised when last week I opened the mailbox only to find a battered blue book in it. I was so psyched that I literally took the book for a stroll around my suburb. I took it to the mechanic‘s where I had my bike fixed, I took it to the post office and the bank, and I went grocery shopping with it. Then I went back home and read the little message Soscha had left me on the very first page.
Isn‘t this the loveliest message ever?! Everyone should feel encouraged to give away parts of themselves – whether this is in form of a gesture or a book or a photograph; in the end what we give away comes back to us, and then it can mean so much more.
Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
Ps. Just felt like sharing this super cute scene from the movie with you!