John Green’s bestselling young-adult novel The Fault in Our Stars is a love story about two teenagers, both with terminal cancer. I was particularly taken with the narrator, Hazel, who has metastatic cancer in her lungs and uses supplemental oxygen. This fictional teenager astutely observes the shame, frustration, and feelings of inadequacy that can come with inhabiting a body that doesn’t work as most bodies do. I have a bone disorder that has caused dozens of fractures and severe arthritis; in young Hazel, I found a co-citizen in the land of compromised bodies. Hazel’s meditations on her impaired body echo my own.
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