I Fell In Love the Way You Fall Asleep: Slowly, and Then All At Once

Creator: John Green (John Michael Green), American author, vlogger, and educator.

Context: John Green’s 2012 novel “The Fault in Our Stars” tells the story of two star-crossed lovers: Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. The couple agree to read each other’s favorite novels. While Waters is reading to Lancaster from her chosen book she experiences a realization: 1

As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.

In 2014 Green participated in a Question & Answer session via Reddit, and he was asked about the memorable statement: 2

Question: The line about falling in love is like falling asleep.. “slowly, then all at once”.. Why do I feel like I’ve heard it before..? More importantly- What inspired it? It’s a great line.

Reply from John Green: There’s a similarish line from Hemingway: “How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways: Gradually, then suddenly.” So maybe there? That was my initial inspiration for the line.

Related Article: “How Did You Go Bankrupt?” “Two Ways. Gradually and Then Suddenly.”

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Jesse Sheidlower who remarked on the connection between this quotation and the words of Hemingway. Sheidlower also pointed to John’s Green’s acknowledgement of Hemingway.


  1. 2012, The Fault in Our Stars, Quote Page 125, Dutton Books: An Imprint of Penguin Group USA, New York. (Google Books Preview)
  2. Website: Reddit, Reddit Group: r/IAmA, Title: Iam John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and co-creator of Crash Course and Vlogbrothers. AMA!, Questions and Responses Topic for: John Green, Date on website: May 29, 2014, Website description: Discussion forum; “The front page of the internet”. (Accessed reddit.com on August 8, 2018) link