The Manic Pixie Dream Boy

The Fault in Our StarsI know I am running a little behind on my Re-Read 2015 Challenge. It has been a busy year full of exciting changes thus far. When I finally started the challenge, I read my January books (Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise by Shannon A. Thompson) in February and finished off the trilogy with her recent release of Death Before DaylightThen, I jumped straight to Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse for my Forever Young Adult book club (and subsequently gobbled down the sequel, The Winner’s Crime). And finally, I got around to my February Pick – John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. 
WHEN I First Read
It was late 2010 or early 2011. I was in college and taking a class called Children’s and Young Adult Literature where we examined what these genres taught their target audiences. It was one of my favorite college classes and professors.
WHAT I Remember
I LOVED this book so much! I’m in the minority in that I didn’t shed a tear when I read this nor when I watched the movie. To me, it didn’t seem like we were supposed to cry. Hazel’s voice in the book is very straightforward; the lines are witty and well constructed. Though the book is tragic, the tragedy is addressed in such a way that it seen as just a part of life for a cancer kid. (That probably sounds heartless.)
WHY I Wanted to Re-Read
After reading So Obsessed With’s review of The Fault in Our Stars, I got to wondering if maybe I wasn’t a little honeymooned by this book the first time. Perhaps since there was so much hype around it and since I hadn’t read anything like it at that time, I loved it more than I would have otherwise. Or maybe I just loved the class I was taking. Either way, my thoughts were not the same this time around.
HOW I Felt After Re-Reading
Oh buddy… You want to talk about a rude awakening! I can’t say I hated TFiOS this time around. I just didn’t love it. It was still easy to read, the writing still clever, and the humor still biting. However, this time around I thought Hazel was a bitter brat (especially when she was describing the other members of support group), Augustus creepy, and both of them pretentious. It’s frustrating that Hazel and Augustus are the same person in different bodies. I get that it’s “romantic”, but it gets annoying. It’s not that I don’t like Hazel – she has her caring and redeeming moments, like when the little girl asks about her cannula. I myself even enjoy the occasional America’s Next Top Model marathon. But overall, I can’t say I want to be friends with either Hazel or Augustus. (I do however want to be friends with Hazel’s parents.)
I also found it interesting that many people who don’t enjoy TFiOS said it is because they don’t enjoy the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, but after re-reading this book I wondered if they were referring to Hazel or Augustus as the MPDG. (If you haven’t heard of the MPDG trope in film, it basically means that the girl is this immature character who exists solely to encourage the male lead to live a more exciting and adventurous life.) I would argue that Augustus is really a Manic Pixie Dream Boy, and after researching some about the trope, it turns out I am not alone. Matt Patches (what an awesome name!) of the Vulture seems to think the same thing, and he has a hilarious article discussing his issues with Augustus! Warning: It may ruin the book for you! Though he only discusses the movie version of Augustus Waters, his argument for Gus being the MPDB is still valid. Just to give you a taste, he warns us that “crossing Manic Pixie Dream Girl DNA with a teenage boy results in a fiercer predator than anything in Jurassic Park.” (This is the kind of discussion that makes me want to go back to school!) But I digress.
WOULD I Re-Read Again
I would consider re-reading this again, but in at least a year. AT LEAST! It still has great quotes and thought-provoking moments, but I can’t say I will be re-reading this anytime soon. I’m still in the minority with those who did not cry, but now I am joining a new minority – those who do not like this book.

2 thoughts on “The Manic Pixie Dream Boy

  1. Hey, I’m new to wordpress and chanced across your blog through theasiringfilmcritic. It’s great! I agree with you completely about this book. I had mixed feelings about it when I read it, and I totally feel you – sometimes I reread a book and wonder what I saw in it the first time haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I’m glad someone agrees with me. I am glad I gave books like the Hunger Games trilogy a second chance though, so sometimes reread changes opinions for the best. 🙂


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