Looking for Alaska
6 October 2013 6 Comments
Author: John Green.
Summary: Alaska Young. Gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, screwed up – and utterly fascinating. Miles Halter could not be more in love with her. But when tragedy strikes, Miles discovers the value and the pain of living and loving unconditionally.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3.5/5
Review: I decided to pick up a John Green book after watching several of his youtube videos and finding him to be a very intelligent and articulate person. So, despite the fact his books are quoted on tumblr like scripture by teenagers, i chose to read one. And, as is my wont, i began chronologically.
As far as i am aware, i had come across no spoilers for this book, but i somehow knew what was going to happen, knew that Alaska was a person and knew what the ‘looking’ was eluding to.
The front cover, blurb and back cover quote, in my opinion, do nothing for the book. If i had not already decided i wanted to read this book, nothing about the book itself would have compelled me to. It looks and sounds immature and awfully clichéd. (Thankfully) a perfect example of ‘never judge a book by its cover’ (or blurb or quotes).
I liked the chapter and book divisions; X Days Before/X Days After. The ‘before’ half of the book was, for me, the weaker half. It was the “normal” half. Boy makes friends, meets girls, enjoys life… It was very well written, made me laugh often and was enjoyable to read, but wasn’t overly thrilling or the kind of genre i usually like to read.
The ‘after’ half is what makes the book. The first half was just a very long prelude, in comparison. The first half sets the scene and the characters, the second half truly explores them. The second half is when i really began to care, about the characters and the situation they find themselves in.
There are, as tumblr can attest, plenty of quote-worthy one liners in this book, but the real meaning behind them is lost without the context of the story. Similarly with Pudge’s last words obsession; he often recounts the situation of the person’s death in order to give their last words their true meaning.
Although teetering oh so close to the “normal” fiction which i avoid vehemently, John Green’s writing is very compelling. Regardless of the subject matter, he makes reading it interesting. I plan on reading at least one more of his books, at some point, before deciding if the tumblr masses are crazily over-obsessed teenagers, or averagely-obsessed teenagers with good taste.