Having now completed my undergraduate degree, (I’m so happy!), I now have more time for reading (again, so happy!) Today I finished my 30th book of the 2015 Reading Challenge, “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. Again, it didn’t fit into a pre-defined category (am I ever going to get through all 50?), so I formulated #55 A book you’re conflicted about. Let me explain.
My Goodreads Review
“This review is potentially the most difficult I’ve ever had to write. The reason is simply because I am torn with this book.
I loved the first half of this book, the build up to the climax of the story, but then (in some respects) it just fell away. However, the character development was believable and profound.
‘Looking for Alaska’ follows the story of Miles ‘Pudge’ Halter, who leaves behind his home in Florida, to attend boarding school in another state. It follows his friendships with ‘The Colonel’ (his roommate), Alaska (the girl he dreams of being with), Takumi and Lara. It isn’t just a typical coming of age story – it is much more thought-provoking than that.
The characters have issues – what teenager doesn’t? – and the novel sees Pudge become his own person, albeit in the shadow of his friends. He finally feels as though he fits in, until the unimaginable happens.
The second half of the story follows “the after” – which I obviously cannot discuss, because *spoilers*. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was as deep and meaningful as it could’ve been, although I did enjoy the journey the characters went on to try and find out “why” it happened.
As is now concrete (in my mind at least) after having read three John Green books, I am disappointed by the endings. They happen abruptly, and I don’t feel I got much resolution from this book (granted, more so than ‘Paper Towns’ and ‘The Fault In Our Stars’). It just left me with a whole lot more questions, which oddly I don’t even care about getting answered.
I’m torn. On one level it was deeply shocking and moving, and on another, it just didn’t deliver in the end.”
I am so conflicted. I wanted to love it (as with ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ and ‘Paper Towns’ – I’ve ultimately been disappointed by all three) but I didn’t. There is something about John Green’s books that leave me writhing in anguish – they just don’t feel like completed stories – and that irritates me.
Whilst I love some of the beautiful similes and metaphors he expresses through his writing, it is just not good enough (I know I’m in the minority here, everyone else seems to adore everything he’s ever written). Well, I’m not a sheep, and I’m not going to pretend any differently. I just feel disappointed every time.
I read the 10th anniversary edition, which included revisions of earlier drafts of scenes, and a Q&A with John Green – he seems like a highly intelligent, interesting man, which makes me even more disappointed that he appears to refuse to construct entire story arcs. Maybe it’s time to cut my losses with him?!
#55 A book you’re conflicted about – Looking for Alaska by John Green (6/10)
Twenty-five down, twenty-five to go. (Thirty read)
My journey will also be instagrammed frequently on @charlottebibliophile