Hey there, if you're familiar with young adult fiction you'll know about John Green and a little book called The Fault in Our Stars. Basically, the novel is about Hazel Grace, little infinites, August Waters and life, but here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous
plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group,
Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
The Fault in Our Stars is such a good book because it doesn't make Hazel or Augustus into inspiration porn. What's inspiration porn, you say? Inspiration porn is when you have a story about a disabled (mentally or physically) or ill character who is only there to inspire you. You probably already know the story. You take a pinch of disability, add some tragedy and character traits which don't reflect actual people and only half bake the mixture. The result is a story in which a character's main goal is the overcome their illness or disability and become a hero. Who knew that a disabled or ill person could do anything?*
A great example of this is the movie, A Walk To Remember. The movie is basically about how a teenager, named Landon, falls in love with another teenager, Jamie, who has cancer. Not only is Jamie religious, but she has literally no flaws. None. She does well in school, she volunteers after school and she is completely pure and selfless and everything a person should be. Plus, she can sing. She is such a great person that she, in turn, makes Landon better. At the end Landon and Jamie get married and she dies a beautiful death and everything fades to white.
Dying is not beautiful. Battling cancer doesn't make you a better person. In fact, no one is perfect. I highly doubt that a person without flaws exists, whether they're disabled, terminal, or not. People like Hazel and Augustus do not exist to make you feel warm and fuzzy. They're just people. They have flaws, they mess up, they have good days and bad days like everyone else. How people experience life is entirely individual.
The Fault in Our Stars in not without its flaws, but it's a great, giant step towards accurately representing people who have cancer as, you know, actual people.
Just so you know, this fantastic book has been made into a movie and will be released this year. You should definitely see it when it comes out.
If you liked this post then write a message to me on a piece of paper, burn it and I'll definitely get it.
*Just in case you couldn't tell I was being very sarcastic.
Anjulie Te Pohe
Founder of Koru Mag | Mookychick contributor | Avid reader and writer of YA | Takatapui (Maori & bi/queer) | She/Them | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org