Saturday, March 13, 2010

Looking For Alaska Review

Description: Before. Miles 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. 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.

My Thoughts: After I read John Green's Paper Towns, I decided to get his first two books. I bought both and started with Looking for Alaska, which did not fail to be intelligent, intense, and funny (of course this is why I love John Green, he always has a deeper meaning behind his stories). The book is about miles Halter, late nicknamed Pudge who kicks his existence in Florida to the curb to go to a boarding school in the interest of seeking what a dying Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps."

He begins to fit in with a group who he considers anything but boring. This group includes the Colonel who is his roommate, and the funny, smart, and self-destructive Alaska who is a funny part time feminist that is good at teaching math as well as developing pranks. Along with his group including two others friends named Lara and Takumi, Pudge discovers the value of life and love. And of course the age old question, "how do you escape the labyrinth of suffering?" OK, maybe that isn't the age old question, but it is something we've all thought about regardless of whether we recognized what we were thinking about (or what that question even means). There are some small and quirky but nice additions to this book, like the fact that the chapter numbers are replaced with a countdown, as in 'eighty days before' or 'ten days after'. The book is also divided into two parts, "Before" and "After". The countdown and two part story seems confusing until you find out shat happens. Meaning that "Before" is what happens before the big event occurs. With John Green's lesson on life, it's no wonder Looking for Alaska is now being taught in some high schools. I really enjoyed this, especially because one of the important people and sites in the book is a religious studies professor and his class. I;m taking two (and a half) religious classes which makes me feel like I'll learn some kind of deep realization of life this semester. For giving me a different perspective on life, I'm giving this book an A.

Reasons it wasn't higher:

1. Things got a little confusing (and a little too much for me) near the end of the story, mainly because of a confession from one of the people in the group of friends.

2. I also thought the story could have ended differently (/better).

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