It’s september 14th today, and in June I read Looking for Alaska during my vacation in Greece. It’s been a while and it’s gonna take a lot of thinking and remembering to write a review, but fortunately, I wrote all my thoughts during that vacation in a notebook. So here I am, at my desk, writing about a book I read next to a clear blue swimming pool in the heating sun of Greece. Anticlimax, right, since here in the Netherlands it’s pretty cloudy at the moment. Anyway: the book. Good. John Green. Let’s go.
First of all, I was sooo in love with the cover. I have the paperback edition of HarperCollins, published on February 28th, 2013. It has the pretty flower on the cover. It’s so awesome. That’s what I wanted to say. The book became ever more awesome when I opened it, obviously.
The narrator of the story is Pudge: a not so very popular boy who’s life has been one big non-event. To me, he sounded like the normal lonely boy without friends and without an own will. He just went with flow of his boring life. But the thing that made him a little bit more interesting, but also very weird, was his love for famous people’s last words. Like: who the hell thinks that’s interesting? And even more: who can remember them all? I don’t. Clearly. I don’t even remember what I ate last night (PIZZA).
Pudge came to the conclusion that he needed to change things up, big time, to make his life more interesting. Maybe his search for the “Great Perhaps” would be more successful at Creek. Yes. Damn it. Why do students/teenagers/characters always think that boarding schools are fun? I don’t. Especially after reading so many books about teenagers going to boarding school. But whatever, he went there. Going there wasn’t something I’d pare up with Pudge: but since all characters seem to do that, it was more believable he really went. So boarding school was his escape.
At Creek, he met Colonel. Who has that kind of a name? But then again: Pudge is a name too. John Green loves weird names, apparently. He’s got something with names. At first sight (first read?) I thought Colonel was one heck of a dick (sorry for the language), but I was wrong. He turned out to be a great guy. Maybe just the kind of guy Pudge needed at that time. I think that the area of the boarding school was described very good and accurate. I could see it all happening in front of me. It didn’t feel like something was sugar coated.
And then he met Alaska, Alaska Young. From the minute he met her, I knew something was going to happen. She was clearly disturbed and he was clearly falling for her. I was irritated by her in the beginning, until I (and Pudge) go to know her. I worried about the fact that she was so self-destructive, she didn’t seem to notice she took everybody with her. But than again: she had good and kind sides too. She wasn’t really mean, in a way. She just looked at the world a bit differently.
Pudge was in love. In love with Alaska Young.
“If people were like rain, I was like drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
The book overall was a bit (just a bit) oversexed. I mean: it’s young adult, I know. But sometimes I felt like: this is pushed. This is JUST because sex has to be in it. Not because it fits the story. But I kept reading anyway, because at the end, maybe it did all make sense. Plus, most scenes that contained sex of any kind were mostly hilarious. They were too funny to be taken seriously.
[SPOILER, NOT GONNA WARN YOU AGAIN!]
But WHY does everybody die? I mean: not literally everybody. But in some kind of way; they do. And why does this novel have to end this way? I was so not happy, so not happy. And so not satisfied. Really. I felt depressed, somehow.
Anyway, I think this book really was GOOD. It’s dark, it’s fascination and also very funny. John Green wrote this book with a dark sense of humor, one that only Alaska seemed to own. And Green again, made it seem so easy to write a book. It’s complicated but easy at the same time. You know what I mean? The story ain’t very complicated but somehow it actually is. Because Alaska Young is, and always will be, complicated.
This is one of Green’s first books. I’ve also read TFiOS, and this book is different. It’s more alternative. I don’t think this book would or could be a Hollywood Blockbuster Movie, and it doesn’t have to be. It’s more artsy. It’s not like TFiOS at all. And I don’t want to compare these two books, so I’m stopping myself right now at this very moment. And I’m gonna conclude by stating this: This book is haunting, it’s not satisfying, not even after closing the book, but it is soooo damn good.
Share your thoughts on Looking for Alaska down here 🙂 I’d love to hear what you think about it!