eh... it was pretty good... I guess I'm not being fair on the rating system. my standards rose considerably after I started reading Scott Westerfeld aeh... it was pretty good... I guess I'm not being fair on the rating system. my standards rose considerably after I started reading Scott Westerfeld and John Green and Eoin Colfer a whole lot. so, if it was before late '08, I'd give it a 5. but now, 4....more
"And all at once I knew how Margo Roth Spiegelman felt when she wasn't being Margo Roth Spiegelman: she felt empty. She felt the unscaleable wall surr
"And all at once I knew how Margo Roth Spiegelman felt when she wasn't being Margo Roth Spiegelman: she felt empty. She felt the unscaleable wall surrounding her. I thought of her asleep on the carpet with only that jagged sliver of sky above her. Maybe Margo felt comfortable there because Margo the person lived like that all the time: in an abandoned room with blocked-out windows, the only light pouring in through holes in the roof. Yes. 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."
"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."
John Green has written something wonderful. And I don't say this as a Nerdfigher or as a pursuer of lovely quotes or even necessarily as an aspiring writer. I say this as a person, as a person just like every other person.
You can say that John Green is a master of writing, or even better, a master of story-telling. A brilliant craftsman, with literature being his trade. But then you have someone a copy of the book and tell them to just read it. Don't read it for school. Don't read it to try and find meaning. Don't analyse. Just read it. And then you'll see that first and foremost, John Green is a master of people. He doesn't craft characters, he crafts people. He doesn't just write a story, he tells it.
As a nit-picker, I'm compelled as usual to make an attempt at a literary analysis of some kind. But Green has joined the ranks of Amy Tan and other classic authors in his ability to weave in an overwhelming number of theories and ideas, not noticed until later at two in the morning when one has finally finished the book and cannot sleep for thoughts of adventure and wanderlust. It is extraordinarily difficult to pick and chose what to say, what sticks out and makes a statement. Because it all does. Quentin is not a genius, but he can think, because John has made him so, and more importantly, Margo has made him so. Because Quentin is not a superhero. He is a teenager. He changes, and he's influenced by the people around him. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing, as changes can open your eyes.
Overall it's an incredibly impressive book. The mystery is a page-turner, and nothing is revealed until the end. It's one part completely, side-stitchingly hilarious ("IT'S NOT MY FAULT THAT MY PARENTS OWN THE WORLD'S LARGEST COLLECTION OF BLACK SANTAS."), and one part deeply insightful and thoughtful ("What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person."). You will laugh until you cry, and then cry until it aches. You will go to the paper towns, and you will never come back....more
**spoiler alert** Looking for Alaska is not in fact a book about traveling the US, or someone looking on the map, trying to look for a very large chun**spoiler alert** Looking for Alaska is not in fact a book about traveling the US, or someone looking on the map, trying to look for a very large chunk of funny-looking land and not look stupid at the same time, but about looking for a purpose, a Great Perhaps, and maybe Alaska herself.
Alaska Young could have saved her mother's life. But like any other seven year old, she froze up. And so her mother died. Her father didn't blame her, not after the initial shock anyway. Miles, the lead character and narrator, didn't blame her. Takumi and the Colonel didn't blame her. But Alaska blamed herself. She got caught up in Simón Bolívar's labyrinth of life, death, or suffering, she didn't live to find out which it was. She did, however, make her choice (possibly prematurely): she said that the labyrinth is suffering. And the best way to get out? "Straight and Fast"
Miles Halter got caught up with Alaska upon coming to Culvert Creek, a boarding school a few miles south of Birmingham, Alabama, where there are Weekday Warriors, the Eagle, buferitos, and one Alaska Young. Miles is captivated by Alaska. She's not exactly your average crush, though. Alaska smokes "to die", drinks Strawberry Hill straight from the bottle, plays the best pranks, and flirts with everyone. And then... she tutors people in precalc so they don't flunk out of the Creek, takes stands for woman's rights, writes eloquent speeches, and plans to teach autistic kids when she grows up.
Alaska has violent mood swings and often flies off the handle.
Alaska Young is smart.
Alaska Young is beautiful.
And then... she dies. Suicide. The final half of the book is dedicated to the sole cause of finding out why. Dedicated to Miles and the Colonel and Takumi just trying to get answers. Dedicated to WHY did Alaska die?! WHY didn't she swerve?! Why, why, why did she have to die, so fast that Miles Halter, the last boy she kissed and the lover of last words, couldn't even hear hers?
And in the end... they figure out. She was broken. She had been broken since she was seven years old.
Alaska Young was smart and beautiful and broken.
And Alaska was loved. By Miles, by the Colonel, by Lara, by the Eagle, by everyone, and by me myself. Because what Alaska said, and Auden before her, was and is true:
You shall love your crooked neighbor With your crooked heart.