I really enjoyed Franzen’s writing style. He is clear, descriptive, and intelligent. I had a clear picture of the main character’s objectives and thei...moreI really enjoyed Franzen’s writing style. He is clear, descriptive, and intelligent. I had a clear picture of the main character’s objectives and their inner struggles. Their backgrounds were laid out in a way that allowed me to see their growth without feeling like there was a massive info dump to get there. However there were times when I thought Franzen was trying too hard to be “cool”, in the way a 6 year old boy thinks poop and dead bugs are cool. There are some really weird analogies used that do not help me connect to the story (using the phrase “a firm little clitoris of discernment and sensitivity” to describe a woman’s intelligence for example….???? I’m sorry but I don’t know anyone who would describe a person as being a clitoris of anything. Just saying).
In particular I enjoyed Joey’s transformation. I loved how he went from a spoiled and entitled little shit to a man who had to make some huge choices. He started off with that “nothing bad can ever happen to me” mentality that so many teenagers seem to have, and then when something REALLY bad happened he learned to take responsibility for not only his actions, but the ethical and moral implications of those actions. In the end he turned out to be one of the most stable characters, which was something I could not predict based on his character at the start of the book.
The character I could relate to the most was probably Patty. I can completely understand how she can have everything she’s “supposed” to want and still be horribly unhappy. I can also understand how a husband can do everything right and still be wrong, and that the man who does everything so horribly wrong can be the only man you can love. It’s not healthy, but I get it.
The only character I didn’t like was Richard. I couldn’t understand his point of view or his motivations. I didn’t like how he said he cared about Walter so much but couldn’t have enough self-control to stay loyal to the one person who always stood by him. I also didn’t think this character was all that realistic. Sure he was a “rock star” but I didn’t think he was neither famous nor rich enough to have women just throwing themselves at him. He didn’t come across charming or sexy, just dirty and rude.
I think the overall theme of the book was a person’s sense of duty and if they were too cowardly to live up to their duty or if they had the courage to seek the freedom from duties that made them miserable. Every single character had to make a decision about their duties in life, whether it be to their children, spouse, friend, company, country, or themselves, and if they were going to meet expectations or not. More often than not they have to choose between two conflicting duties, which is not an easy thing. This was probably my favorite aspect of the book, and the development and choices of the characters were both expected and surprising.
Overall Freedom is like one of the videos on the weird side of youtube. Whether it’s a dog scratching its balls or a kitten randomly puking, there’s something freakishly fascinating about it. That’s what Freedom is; equal parts captivating and disgusting. I can really only recommend this book to you if you’re willing to take a look at the nastier side of people and can handle seeing some of that reflected in yourself. (less)
I honestly don't know how to rate this. This is such a sensitive subject and while I think parts of this book would be very helpful for teens thinking...moreI honestly don't know how to rate this. This is such a sensitive subject and while I think parts of this book would be very helpful for teens thinking about suicide or teens who suspect someone is thinking about suicide, I'm not sure the overall method was effective.
Paper Towns is an interesting look at obsessive teenage love and how our ideas of a person can become much grander than the person themselves. This bo...morePaper Towns is an interesting look at obsessive teenage love and how our ideas of a person can become much grander than the person themselves. This book tells the tale of a boy who discovers himself by searching for the girl of his dreams. Only she isn't the girl of his dreams, she's Margo. She has her own faults and shortcomings. She is a real person, not a dream girl whose only purpose in life is to lead Quentin down the road of self understanding through her uncanny wisdom and quirky personality. She is the anti manic pixie dream girl. Paper Towns is romantic but honest portrayal of love, loss, and expectation.
Paper Towns has many other wonderful aspects as well. While rich in metaphor and contemplation, it also has a wonderful sense of humor with perfect timing delivered by an endearing supporting cast. One thing I love about John Green's writing is the sprinkling of hilariously casual observations such as:
"I'm not saying that everything is survivable. Just that everything except the last thing is."
"Talking to a drunk person was like talking to an extremely happy, severely brain-damaged three-year-old."
"Traveling, I am finding, teaches you a lot of things about yourself. For instance, I never thought myself to be the kind of person who pees into a mostly empty bottle of Bluefin energy drink while driving through South Carolina at seventy-seven miles per hour - but in fact I am that kind of person."
It's in this voice that John Green truly stands out as a writer of his own class. He can connect to the reader in such a friendly and self deprecating way that allows the reader to be in the moment of the book. I believed that these were my friends, I was at my school, and I learned things about myself. Paper Towns was a book that came full circle for this author. In Looking for Alaska he uses MPDG as a plot device and in Paper Towns he breaks her apart and shows her faults.
Overall Paper Towns is an amazing book about learning to look at yourself and others for who they really are, not what you wish they could be. This book is a unique gem, and should not be missed.
"The fundamental mistake I had always made--and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make--was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl."(less)
Looking for Alaska is a coming of age story that is both ridiculously hilarious and touchingly poignant at the same time. This book deals with friends...moreLooking for Alaska is a coming of age story that is both ridiculously hilarious and touchingly poignant at the same time. This book deals with friendship, love, and death in a real and honest way that will hit home with not only teens but adult readers as well. Brilliantly set up into two sections of "before" and "after", Looking for Alaska shows how a single event can change a persons life forever.
First I want to comment on the humor in Looking for Alaska. There is a lot of it, and I like it. The writing is witty and the dialogue snappy and clever. More than once I literally laughed out loud while reading this book, much to my embarrassment because I got to the mother fucking fox hat in the middle of a crowded Starbucks.
There is sex, drinking, and smoking in this book, but they are realistically done. The sex isn't beautiful and perfect, it's awkward and a little embarrassing. The drinking and smoking are also realistic in that for most teens they can experiment without anything horrible happening beyond a hangover and maybe throwing up after going a little too far. However, I think Looking for Alaska also gives a warning about being irresponsible and the serious consequences drugs and alcohol can have without sounding like a public service announcement. It handles a tough topic in a way that won't turn teen readers off for sounding too much like their nagging parents.
This book is truly unique in the young adult genre. Looking for Alaska has equal parts hilarious moments and deeply emotional moments. There are some great instances of reflection about life's purpose and the morality with which you achieve it that challenges younger readers into thinking beyond the mega hot brooding vampire. That is the best part of this book, in my opinion. How Green challenges the reader with complex issues is what makes this book a true classic.
Overall Looking for Alaska is at it's heart, a story about self discovery. It's about finding out who you are and seeking the great perhaps that lives within.(less)
fantastic! I absolutely loved all the math in this novel. After I was finished I busted out the calculator and figured out Colin's Theory for myself....morefantastic! I absolutely loved all the math in this novel. After I was finished I busted out the calculator and figured out Colin's Theory for myself. Turns out I'm the dumper in my current relationship lol.(less)