Friday, May 1, 2015

Review - John Green: Star Author, Vlogbrother, Nerdfighter, by Eric Braun

John Green: Star Author, Vlogbrother, and Nerdfighter

Does anyone else remember the old American Express commercial with Stephen King? In which he laments that, no matter how many novels he has written he isn't always recognized?

My guess is that John Green does not have that problem. Possibly because of his Nerdfighter and Crash Course vlogs. Maybe because of the conferences he and his brother, Hank, have run. Or, it could be because, when the movie version of The Fault in Our Stars premiered, he was just as much the focus of attention as the actors. At any rate, if he were to walk into the library at any given point in time, I would not have to cast about trying to figure out why he looked familiar, I would go into full-on fangirl mode immediately (feel free to test me on that any time you are in southern NM!)

As recognizable as he is, and as much as I enjoy his books and videos now, I really didn't realize how interesting - and, at times, rough - his earlier life was. He is very close to my age, and we attended colleges 15 minutes apart - him starting just about the time I was graduating. I have been finding out recently that several of my classmates had much more complicated lives than I realized at the time, and reading this short biography formed an immediate connection in my mind. I appreciate the fact that Green has been so open about the struggles in his life, and that Braun and Lerner chose to include more than a passing mention of them. Just as in his books, there is a lot here for kids (and adults) to identify with, and take encouragement from.

Heaviness aside, this is a short (less than 50 pages, including timeline, source notes, bibliography, index, AND further reading) but relatively meaty read, well-written and organized. My only quibble is the complete lack of pictures from Green's childhood - all we get are photos of cities where he lived, and authors he admired. Of course, thinking about the few surviving pictures of myself in elementary school, I don't know that I would release any of those to publishers, either!

Both paperback and hardcover are available now, and a great addition to any middle or high school library.


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