“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars.”

I’m late to the game, but I finally caught The Fault in Our Stars last night. I’d been avoiding this book/movie because it’s not about one sick person in a doomed relationship but TWO. You know this story will only end in tears, and I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

But Ed Sheeran’s All of the Stars music video, as well as Birdy’s Not about Angels, drove me to watch it at last.

The last time I cried so hard over a movie … Shoot, I can’t even remember. Even though I might have cried six times throughout The Return of the King (because LOTR will always have a special place in my heart), I didn’t literally sob into my palms the way I had at TFIOS.

Thank you, John Green. And I know my tweet was mildly sarcastic

But really, thank you. For creating such a beautiful, tragic, but somehow uplifting story that sheds light on cancer and the battle cancer patients fight every day.

I’m generally not into books with insta-love (Twilight was a phase – we all have our inglorious pasts), because I can’t understand how people can fall so completely head-over-heels for someone so quickly. Crushes I understand – but love?

But I suppose for Gus and Hazel, with only limited time on earth, they would feel everything more keenly. Insta-love in this case is not only justified, but credible. I love how they bonded not over their illness, but over a book, and a huge part of the story follows them on their voyage to Amsterdam to find the author, Peter van Houten, who changed their lives. And their interaction felt so real, you feel like you ARE Hazel falling for Augustus.

I also really like Hazel’s relationship with her parents. It’s not the “teenager wanting to be free and independent and hence rebels against the parents” trope you see in many YA stories. Hazel’s parents are protective without being stifling, and they have an implicit understanding with Hazel that they’re all in this together. It’s so nice to see a loving relationship between the teenage protagonist and her parents for once.

After Gus’s funeral ceremony, when Hazel just sat in her car, taking a moment for herself, I felt her pain. Her grief, her longing, her sudden emptiness. I missed Gus as much as she did. I missed his sweet and adorable text messages. I missed his bravado, his cocky smirk. I missed the reassuring smile he reserved just for Hazel. I missed everything about him.

But while the ending was devastating enough to bring even grown men to tears (what did you expect, right, with a love story of two terminally-ill patients?), it wasn’t depressing. John Green gave Hazel – and us – closure with Gus’s letter.

“Mr. Van Houten,

I’m a good person but a shitty writer. You’re a shitty person but a good writer. I think we’d make a good team. I don’t wanna ask you for any favors, but, if you have the time (and from what I saw you have plenty) please fix this for me. It’s a eulogy for Hazel. She asked me to write one and I’m trying, I – I just.. I could use a little flair. See, the thing is, we all wanna be remembered.

But Hazel’s different. Hazel knows the truth. She didn’t want a million admirers, she just wanted one. And she got it. Maybe she wasn’t loved widely, but she was loved deeply. And isn’t that more than most of us get?

When Hazel was sick, I knew I was dying, but I didn’t wanna say so. She was in the ICU when I snuck in for 10 minutes and I sat with her before I got caught. Her eyes were closed, her skin pale, but her hands were still her hands. Still warm and her nails were painted this dark blue-black color and I just held them. And I willed myself to imagine a world without us, and what a worthless world that would be.

She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she’s smarter than you cause you know she is. She’s funny without ever being mean.

I love her. God, I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. 
You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have a say in who hurts you. And I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.

Okay, Hazel Grace?”

– Augustus Waters

*

I feel so much better now after getting this out of my system. I spent the remainder of last night completely zombified, useless with my chores, because TFIOS is one of those stories that reaches into you and wreck you from within.

Plus, John Green is such a lovely human being!

I’m officially a fan.

Next up, If I Stay. Already have it on my Kindle, along with TFIOS, so bring on another bout of the feels. Yay for YA fiction!

how Girl, Interrupted completely wrecked me

Girl, Interrupted Poster

So thanks to my friend’s recommendation, I watched Girl, Interrupted (1999) over the weekend. She kept raving about Angelina Jolie’s performance and told me that since I was so interested in psychological disorders I should watch the movie.

So I did and now I don’t know if I’m still out of that funk. You know how some stories wreck you from inside you and stay inside you for days, maybe weeks or years? Girl, Interrupted messed me up and turned me into a complete emotional wreck.

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Speaking of Misha, he had a tiny role in the movie too. I couldn’t help it – I burst out laughing when I saw him try to seduce Winona Ryder.

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Castiel, socially awkward since 1999.

What It’s About

Susanna (played by the beautiful Winona Ryder) is admitted to Claymoore and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder after a failed suicide attempt.

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There, she is thrown into a contained, isolated world far removed from reality as she struggles to make sense of her emotional turmoil. She meets a host of patients each with their own diagnoses – a pathological liar (Clea DuVall), a bulimic cutter (Brittany Murphy), a burn victim who behaves like a child (Elisabeth Moss), an anorexic (Angela Bettis) …

And then there’s Lisa (Angelina Jolie), charming, manipulative, rebellious, “dead inside” Lisa, a sociopath who has been in and out of Claymoore for eight years.

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Lisa takes an interest in Susanna, who now lives in the ward vacated by Lisa’s best friend who killed herself. Susanna finds Lisa exciting and magnetic, but is drawn into a downward spiral the more she hangs out with her.

How It Broke Me

The scene where ***spoiler alert (for the rare few who haven’t watched it)*** Susanna found Daisy the bulimic cutter dead in the bathroom after she hung herself completely broke me. It just made me think about all the people out there who battle their inner demons daily, pushing away the voice in their head in an attempt to feel normal and be normal.

Some parts got close to the heart, because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels alone or sad or like a failure sometimes. Some days, all you want to do is just curl up and be alone with your feelings, to cry yourself to sleep and let the debilitating self-doubt and sadness consume you. Other days, you just want them to go away and wish that you didn’t feel anything.

But it’s probably easier to give in to these emotions than dust them off and press on. The trick, I guess, is to keep moving and not stay stagnant with those feelings curdling around you and holding you back.

Favourite Quotes

“Crazy isn’t being broken, or swallowing a dark secret. It’s you, or me, amplified. If you ever told a lie, and enjoyed it. If you ever wished you could be a child, forever.”


What Susanna wanted to say to Daisy (after Daisy killed herself):

“…I will never know what it was like to be her. But I know what it’s like to want to die. How it hurts to smile. How you try to fit in but you can’t. You hurt yourself on the outside to try to kill the thing on the inside.”

Psychiatric nurse Valerie’s advice to Susanna:

“I think what you’ve gotta do is put it down. Put it away. Put it in your notebook, but get it out of yourself. Away so you can’t curl up with it anymore.”

I wanted to give Valerie a hug too after she said this!

Scene between Susanna and her psychiatrist:

Susanna: I’m ambivalent. In fact that’s my new favorite word.

Dr. Wick: Do you know what that means, ambivalence?

Susanna: I don’t care.

Dr. Wick: If it’s your favorite word, I would’ve thought you would…

Susanna: It means I don’t care. That’s what it means.

Dr. Wick: On the contrary, Susanna. Ambivalence suggests strong feelings… in opposition. The prefix, as in “ambidextrous,” means “both.” The rest of it, in Latin, means “vigor.” The word suggests that you are torn… between two opposing courses of action.

Susanna: Will I stay or will I go?

Dr. Wick: Am I sane… or, am I crazy?

Susanna: Those aren’t courses of action.

Dr. Wick: They can be, dear – for some.

Susanna: Well, then – it’s the wrong word.

Dr. Wick: No. I think it’s perfect.

I love how this exchange shows how we are in control of what we think, what we allow ourselves to feel, and the reality we construct for ourselves.

Afterthoughts

Girl, Interrupted is the kind of story that you don’t know whether to love or hate, like this little book called We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. On one hand, you love it because it is so well executed and emotional and moving; it opens up your eyes to the lives of mentally ill people and makes you see the blurred lines between what’s real and what’s in your head. On the other, it totally runs you over like a freight train and leaves you in pieces all over the ground; it worms a little too close into your heart for comfort, and I found myself sobbing during more than one scene towards the end.

I love stories that take you through a whole range of emotions. They make you feel so pathetically human, yet so wonderfully alive.

Okay, I think I’ve written my way out of this emotional fugue. Back to normal life!

Have you watched Girl, Interrupted? What are your thoughts about it, or of mental illnesses in general? I’d love to hear from you! Oh, and if you have any more recommendations on similar subject matter, feel free to share!