My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After initially reading The Fault In Our Stars, it only felt right to get acquainted with John Green’s other books especially since they were all easily accessible. And so I gathered them all and began with his debut novel, Looking for Alaska and his second novel, Paper Towns right after.
I particularly loved the prologue. I loved the way it set things in motion. Right there and then, John gave me an intriguing insight into the lives of the characters as high school seniors which was captivating enough to sustain my interest.
Generally, it was a fun slash adventurous slash profound book. I found myself giggling on several occasions especially during the dialogues. Ben Starling added an attitude to the entire book. I’m pretty sure without him, it wouldn’t have been as exciting as it was. The flashbacks also made it even more enjoyable. Some parts actually made me stop, think and reflect. That’s how profound it was. It wasn’t some story you could just skim through.You had to read it to grasp the overall idea of the book.
Margo Roth Spielgelman struck me as an overly mysterious, intelligent and dramatic young adult full of antics searching for meaning whilst build and planning a world of her own devoid of family and friends. I thought it was a tad unrealistic for someone her age, then again, it only shows the depths to her character. I think Quentin Jacobson was overly obsessed albeit in love with Margo so much that he even missed his graduation. I don’t think that was an healthy trait. Then again, that obsession actually made up the overall theme of the book. It drove him to the extent of taking a road trip of more than a thousand miles where he almost got himself killed to search for Margo which also involved lots of brainstorming and planning. That for me was impressive.
The plot was divided into 3 parts. It was interesting to see so much action even from the first part even though it went on a downward spiral by the second part but then, it picked at the third and final part which turned out to be the climax of the novel. In the end, John took me on an emotional roller coaster of sorts. Not forgetting the element of suspense, it made the book even enjoyable.
The intertexual reference to Walt Whitman whom I’ve never heard of was quite enlightening. John aptly interpreted it and made parts of it accessible which was great for some us who weren’t previously familiar with it.
As expected, spectacular writing, adept story-telling with a witty and wry sense of humor. Once again, it felt great to be on a familiar terrain. John has successful set some standards which I’m glad he didn’t fall short of. Brilliant work. I thought it was apt for a young adult genre.
And of course, some quotable quotes;
What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person
That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfeast cereals based on color instead of taste
It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world
Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement, There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for plannning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future–you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college
When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out
Talking to a drunk person was like talking to an extremely happy, severely brain-damaged three-year-old
It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined
You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpunctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how it’s going with my girlfriend – but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you. My parents have a shit ton of black Santas, but that’s okay. They’re them. I’m too obsessed with a reference website to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually
I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met
The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman
I’m starting to realize that people lack good mirrors. It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, & so hard for us to show anyone how we feel
And I wanted to tell her that the pleasure for me wasn’t planning or doing or leaving; the pleasure was in seeing our strings cross and separate and then come back together
Isn’t it also that on some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are? We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals