REVIEW: LOOKING FOR ALASKA

 

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Author: John Green

Pages: 221

Genre: Contemporary YA

Rating: 4.9/5

“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”

Miles Halter leaves his Florida home to attend a boarding school in Alabama only to find himself caught up in a web of emotional conflict, love, heartbreak, guilt, denial and the problems of being a teenager. Miles or better known as ,’Pudge’ by his friends is the protagonist in the story and like every young adult is ignorant and uncertain about things. He is introduced to Alaska a pretty, confused and absolutely mysterious girl by his friend Colonel who also happens to be his roommate. The story starts unfolding slowly and as the layers start peeling itself you’ll find a deep-rooted bond being formed between you and the characters.

Let me just say that John Green is a pretty darn good writer. I say this not only because I can’t get over The Fault In Our Stars but because he hasn’t tried to portray a rosy picture of a typical young love. Rather he’s been pretty bold about showing that teenage life is filled with naive decisions, heart breaks, lots of drinking(LOTS OF IT) and irrational thoughts and actions.

Talking about the plot, Green starts off in a mysterious note. It starts as ‘Before’ and halfway through the story another part begins as,’After’. The former talks about Pudge trying to fit in to the casual life at Culver Creek, his growing affection for Alaska and increasing interest in the subject Religion. A fascinating thing about this novel is the way John has merged religion with the daily human idiosyncrasies.  It is not boring or dull but thought-provoking and inspiring.

To be honest, I found Alaska Young to be very obnoxious and absolutely effed up in the head given her love for drinking, smoking and playing pranks. Not the kind of girl you’d write a novel about. There was a point when I thought she was suffering from a bipolar disorder cause she was like a happy bunny in one second and a cranky hermit in the other. But and there is a big BUT, the unpredictable behavior and the emotional burden that Alaska carries is something and the only thing that will make you like her. Green made sure she had a certain novelty in her that would attract the attention of the readers. I couldn’t relate to Alaska Young in any way but that’s just me.

‘How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!”

So what’s the labyrinth?’ I asked her…

That’s the mystery, isn’t it? Is the labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape- the world or the end of it?”

The novel does not have a sad ending cause the thing that would tear you apart would happen out of nowhere in the middle of the story. I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO REACT CAUSE IT WAS SO SUDDEN AND CRUEL. Slowly but painfully, I got used to the fact that it was real and what I feared had already taken place. The story does not lose its essence and purity right till the end. John Green always leaves so much to ponder.

Pudge, on the other hand, loves to know and learn about the last words of eminent personalities. Like the words or sentences they spoke after which they went straight to hell/heaven. HOW COOL IS THAT.  He, Miles Halter, is in search of a GREAT PERHAPS. Something extra-ordinary, a huge break, a new outlook on life.

“Thomas Edison’s last words were ‘It’s very beautiful over there’. I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.” 

 

It is only when the,’AFTER’ starts that the story becomes excruciatingly painful as it showcases life when you lose something you love and how you try to cope up with the loss. My expectations after reading TFIOS sky rocketed and I knew I had to lower my expectations.. To my shrill amazement, I wasn’t disappointed. You won’t need tissues while you read this book or a shoulder to cry on but there’s just so much happening, so many feelings and emotions that you’d need a few days to get over the greatness that the book is.

I may die young, but at least I’ll die smart.” 

I guess praising John Green is a helpless attempt. It is like describing why your mother loves you so dearly.

You’re missing out on life, if you miss out on reading Looking For Alaska.

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Author: Shumaila Taher

Because reading is one of the best things that has happened to me. I laugh at all your unfunny jokes too. I am currently pursuing a Master's degree in English Literature and I rave about books all the time.

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