Book Reviews

I will be posting reviews of books. Let me warn you they may contain spoilers. I just post opinion and I hope no one gets offended by it. Feel free to discuss the same-just comment below.

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1. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, 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. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. After. Nothing is ever the same

 

My Thoughts on Looking for Alaska by John Green

Rating-** out of ****

With everyone fascinated by John Green’s ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, I was compelled to pick up his debut novel. It was a roller-coaster ride and here is my review:

When I was small, I firmly believed that no matter how the plot is, a good beginning and a good ending will always set everything right. And that’s exactly what I felt when I read this book.

I read the beginning in a preview and Miles’ fresh voice was enough to urge me to go on. Miles Halter decides to go to Culver Creek, Alabama “to go seek a Great Perhaps”. But Culver Creek is no St. Clare’s. With erratic weather, a division separating the rich ‘Weekday Warriors’ from the rest, the untimely pranks from the Warriors and attempts to sneak away from the Dean dubbed ‘The Eagle’-from his beady eyes, living in Culver Creek can be quite a task.

I felt Miles was witty, gangly, awkward and morbid too-memorising the last words of famous people. But my opinion about him changed when Alaska Young came into the picture. Miles begins to smoke and hanging out with The Colonel, Alaska and Takumi more.

The way Miles talks about Alaska and her curves annoyed me. Somehow in the middle, Miles drifted away and the connection with the character was lost.

Alaska Young is an odd mix of love for sex and demand of women’s rights. She’s smart, plump and has her own emotional ups and downs but totally not relatable to anyone I know and I know not many aspire to be like her. She is charming and all, but soon, she started getting on my every nerve.

The only character I liked was the Colonel who somehow managed to keep vodka in the milk and provided some solid force to the story. The way he displayed his emotions was much better and genuine than that of Miles’.

The other thing in the plot that I couldn’t understand was the love triangle or quadrilateral or whatever between Miles, Lara, Alaska and her boyfriend- Jake. Miles tries his luck with Lara (Or she with him-putting it bluntly) and after getting confused, they head to Alaska who teaches them to do it right. Then on the same day, The Colonel, Pudge and Alaska play ‘Truth or Dare’ and all of sudden, Alaska puts her “Sorry, I have a boyfriend” attitude aside which she had stuck to for quite sometime, only to hook up with Miles (and he couldn’t stop describing her curvy assets either).

I felt most of the characters excluding The Colonel were one-dimensional and unrealistic. Cool, rapping Takumi’s role could’ve been meatier but I was a bit disappointed in the end.

I didn’t like the whole smoking and drinking part- kind of irritating when you expect something serious in the story. The religion classes were engaging but the pranks they on the Weekday Warriors were not worth it.

At the end, I couldn’t help feeling- is that how schools have become? Is that how one’s supposed to “Seek a Great Perhaps”-going to a place miles away from home, playing meaningless pranks  on others, talking religion and philosophy with the girl who insults and enchants one at the same time and yet, one can’t take eyes off her, smoking and drinking away to glory and not telling anything to the parents?

I was almost relieved after Alaska’s death (Yes, I was). But the fact that Miles convinced Chip to drink and try driving (which he didn’t, thankfully) was really foolish.

The plot dragged a bit in the end. They took an awfully long time to find a reason behind Alaska’s supposed suicide. She was moody and clearly upset that she couldn’t save her mother and that drove her emotions. She had obviously revealed the worst day of her life and hinted at the apparent. The prank that was played in the memory of Alaska fascinated me a bit but it couldn’t spark a fire. Hiring a stripper to strip in her name during a school event? I can’t believe Miles convinced his father be a party to that. It didn’t make me smile.

At last, I was glad that it was all over. I might have enjoyed it if the characters weren’t so overblown. I confess I was a bit disappointed. It doesn’t mean that I hate John Green. I look forward to reading more of his works. I expected too much-something powerful, moving and little philosophy-all in a nutshell.  For now, I think I liked ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ better.

 

Plot-

** out of ****

I hoped for something more moving and profound but I was disappointed.

Characterisation-

*out of ****

I couldn’t connect much with the main characters. I got irked by them at times. The opposite kinds of emotions were evoked so- it bombed.

Style-

*** out of ****

Miles’ tone was fresh and new.

Pace-

** out of****

The plot dragged a bit in the end.

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