"Our city has a rich history, even though many tourists are only wanting to see the Red Light District...Some tourists think Amsterdam is the city of sin, but in trust it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin."
Oh dear. I had heard so many good things about this book, I remember being told about it when I was in Amsterdam and thinking that it was definitely a book I'd like to read. And then I ended up watching a video of a girl from Leiden teaching people how to pronounce the Dutch names in the book and thinking, yeah, I should read this book. And then I read thousands of good blogger reviews and then I saw a lovely review by tea.three.sugars and finally ended up buying it. And then finally reading it, a lot lot later.
I wanted to love it. I really did. But I didn't. Don't get me wrong. I didn't hate it. But I doubt I'd ever read it again. I just didn't connect with Hazel at all, and I found her relationship unbelievable. The book seemed like a massive cliché, I feel like there are already about three million books in the world that have their base in a teenage girl who doesn't really have many friends, but she does have a favourite book and her parents are alright and she loves this one book a lot, and oh yeah, she falls in love with a bloke and then PLOT TWIST. I know you're supposed to think she's intelligent and a little quirky, but she just felt like a smartarse to me. I felt like I'd read this book a thousand times before I'd even started going through it.
You only have to read my blog for a second to know that I bang on about the Dutch and living in Holland all the sodding time, but I mean, John Green was paid to live in Amsterdam for a while to research this book, and the best he could come up with was that the Dutch were friendly, that there were nice canal houses and that Jordaan had an alright restaurant. There is so much more to Amsterdam than that. John Green was completely unable to capture the true magic of that city and just how wonderful it is (but maybe I'm just a little too in love with it?). Also, every sodding tourist guide in the world on the Netherlands has the phrase "Dutch isn't so much a language but an ailment of the throat" - I agree, but I felt like John Green should have been able to come up with a new way of putting it instead of just repeating that same phrase.
I'll definitely be giving John Green's other books a go, but I think this one is off to the charity shop. What did you think of the Fault in Our Stars?