October 30, 2017
“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.” ― John Green, Looking for Alaska
I finally read Looking For Alaska.
It’s about time! That was what I said just as I finished this book! Here’s the thing. I picked up LFA about three years ago and tried to read it. I then got bored and stopped. Then about two years ago I tried again and couldn’t get passed the first hundred pages and so I just gave up entirely. Then comes the announcement that John Green is releasing a new book and I decide I want to read all of his other books beforehand. I had finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson when I realized I still had one left. And so after reading Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, I finally decided to “read” Looking for Alaska and finally finish the story that has been haunting me since 2014.
The synopsis for LFA is as followed, FROM GOODREADS: Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.
Now when I say “read” I really mean that I listened to it while I followed along with the novel in front of me. I know, I shall hold for a gasp. Me? Listening to an audiobook? Yeah, I know, crazy right? I DO NOT like audiobooks, but after two failed attempts at reading said book I decided to give it a listen to see if it made any difference and it definitely did, so I suppose audiobooks aren’t that bad.
“When I look at my room, I see a girl who loves books.” ― John Green, Looking for Alaska
Looking for Alaska is not my favourite John Green novel, that title still belongs to Paper Towns, but I still liked it. It is a very accurate representation of teenagers which I find Green excels at. The characters of Miles (AKA Pudge), Alaska, The Colonel, and Takumi were very well written and I got the sense of their voices pretty quickly. Alaska wasn’t my favourite characters as I found her to be a bit overbearing, but I suppose that was the point. The story is set in the South at Culver Creek Boarding School. Now when I think of boarding school, the only reference I can think of is Harry Potter, which of course is one of the worst examples in this case. I have zero experience with boarding schools, but from this book has described, I am very grateful I never attended.
Although, I think the setting worked in the character’s favour as it really amplified that rebellious urge that a lot of teenagers acquire as they get older. Being around kids their own age with no parents? Crazy stuff was bound to happen and thus, it does.
“Sometimes you lose a battle. But mischief always wins the war” ― John Green, Looking for Alaska
I don’t want to spoil it as I was able to listen to the entire thing without knowing what happens in the AFTER chapters, but I definitely didn’t expect it as it seemed too predictable. The whole second half of the book makes you overthink a lot.
When it comes to the main character of Miles, I really liked him. He loves knowing people’s last words and for some reason I find that very poetic and very morbid at the same time. I don’t know, I just love when characters have those little quirks that makes them interesting.
When it comes to Alaska, I found her to be a bit like Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby in the sense that she annoyed me to no end. I felt as if the character was trying to hard to be careless and unpredictable and overall just trying to be something that she was not. And yes, that happens a lot with teenagers, but after a while I just couldn’t help but groan when she spoke.
Compared to Green’s other novels this was the only novel that I didn’t fully connect to the characters. Usually I can find bits of myself in each book I read, but not with this one. I think the characters were dynamic and fun, but a bit much when it comes to being “edgy teenagers”. Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars. It felt like a chore in a sense to read it, but I am glad I finally did. It is a rather deep novel that I think teenagers should read as it will give them a perspective on life that they probably don’t get on a daily basis. I’m not sure if this book is sad or just morbid, but regardless, it’ll make you think and in my opinion if a book can spark a conversation then it is worth a read.