I gave an ai writer the first line of The Fault in Our Stars and this is what it came up with:
Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death. “When are you ever going outside?” she demanded one afternoon at the kitchen table. It was spring; her husband had gone away for the weekend with friends; and she could do little more than complain to me about various things she didn’t like: clouds, doctors, noises, colds, bills, my father, shopping, reading books, politics, Nazis, cars, whistles on the Tube (“Do people whistle here or are they just really loud”), and so on. In other words, she thought I’d lost all interest in living.
I pointed out that we were both alive. In the meantime, if it’s not too late to get pregnant, why not? I also assured her that my frequent rereading of Montaigne wasn’t necessarily a sign of depression but rather suggested I might actually be enjoying myself. And so she packed up lunchboxes for us to take to school on Friday afternoons (a weekly ritual throughout our junior and senior years), forbid me from reading anything longer than four hundred pages unless I was particularly eager to, then began taking valium before leaving each morning.
At age seventeen I made it through high school and university by hiding in my room as much as possible, spending hour after hour there because I could barely stomach more than an hour alone anywhere else. Now I lived mostly in front of computers, barely socialized—as she had ordered me never to do—and even surrounded myself with people who talked constantly, interrupting me and asking me questions, picking me apart and poking around in my head until I fled screaming for an hour or two to give them peace and quiet. Oh, and to think I once fancied science, philosophy, history, literature, religion, architecture, painting, and music, thinking someday I might design a grand new civilization in which the powers-that-be looked to these studies to guide future choices. Instead I learned nothing except what I was told to know by underpaid faculty, and then sent forth to receive jobs, income, votes, and honors in exchange for obeying the rest of the rules, since, really, what did life mean anyway? Beyond that, having been shunted into compulsory maturity during my teens and early twenties, I already seemed constitutionally incapable of experiencing that alluring embrace known as “fun” without first being forced to endure excruciating boredom—the kind of boredom with which Middle America can now only envy Europe.
And now here I am, back home again, searching for a purpose that would awaken me from my years of malaise.