A Universe Trapped in a Labyrinth

This is my boring and interesting and teenager life spanning from age 15 to 18 (May 2015-August 2018)
Within you'll find many re-inventions of myself, boy trouble, school trouble and life trouble. (Plus interesting bits I thought I would include as well).
Do you dare to enter the maze?


48. Paper Towns and paper people and paper lives.


Date: Tuesday 30th June 2015 15:45

Entry: 51/?

Subject: Paper Towns and paper people and paper lives.

Tip: #? Critiquing oneself can be good up to a certain extent but sometimes you have to sit back and say to yourself; “This is good. There are things wrong with it but it’s good. I am good.”  


Okay, the following entry is going to be about my personal review of ‘Paper Towns’ by John Green so if you want to skim over or skip this one that’s okay. I won’t be offended. I know that reading the rants of a teenage girl isn’t the best thing to be doing on a fine day like this (well where I am at least).

“Mirroring” is a concept in psychology where a person can know oneself better by soliciting feedbacks from other people who they interact with in their lives. This concept can allow for telling things we already know and can uncover revelations. Those kind of things belong in the so-called “blindspot” quadrant.

In this novel Paper Towns, John Green indirectly used Margo Roth Spiegelman for Quentine Jacobsen or simply Q to understand love and life and to know himself better as a person, as a man. Not by giving him direct feedbacks but by making him experience the things that he would not have dared doing on his own. Who would have dared driving your parents’ car in the middle of the night, pushing it with your friend few meters away from the house so as not to awake them with the sound of the engine? Then going to the houses of the people who wronged your friend just to avenge them? Then your friend disappeared, with no intention of returning and not wanting to be found, the following day? Leaving a note after a hug and a kiss: “I. Will. Miss. Hanging. Out. With. You.” That was after leaving catfishes in the underwear drawer of a friend hardy ha ha. Who would have thought of having this plot in the first place? 

What makes this novel engaging is the prose: it is downright sincere and true to its voice: youngish, quirky, innocent yet full of life lessons. Green does not push down his philosophy on growing up down your throat. He lets you enjoy his story and life realisations just naturally follow. I am sure that Green’s idiosyncrasies (which simply means the behaviour or policies of an individual) must have been reflected somehow by his many male characters: Q, Radar and Ben but Margo permeates in each page of this novel:

”Yes. The fundamental mistake I had always made — and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make — was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl."

I applaud Green for creating a character like Margo that can rally boys to transform themselves into men without disregard to the pains of growing up. After all, these pains are quite common in life – not having a prom date, losing your first love, unrequited love, unknowingly disappointing or angering some of our friends, etc – and we have all learned from them. When we grow old, we will tend to ridicule young people experiencing the same pains and we will probably call them trivial and proudly say something along the lines of ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet!’ But for us as teenagers in the present day, those are parts of our lives. That’s where we are now. 

Like Margo’s paper towns, we need to take care not to blow down the delicate houses and make them fall apart. And yes, even one of my blind spots has just been cleared by this novel. 

I applaud Green on the concepts woven within his writing and his metaphors displayed. I particularly enjoyed the metaphors to explain life whether it was identical to strings, strands of grass with roots connected, and a ship with cracks in its hull allowing it to slowly sink. However, there were some moments where I felt a bit like putting the book down and abandoning it (which is something I have never done with a book).

The whole search for Margo didn’t really put much into my heart as it dragged and I felt like skipping to the end just to find out about why she had disappeared and what was going to happen next.  There were also parts where I thought that it didn’t quite flow like other books that I had read, it was much in the sequence of then I did this and then I did this and then… it got boring and repetitive.

Also the characters of Margo and Q seemed a bit too familiar. A somewhat nerdy young man who is on the cusp of reaching out and grabbing life by the reigns however he can. He is also enamored with a girl who is unattainable. She is unpredictable and full of a shimmering charm; she fades oasis-style the closer and closer you try to get. In addition, she feels too much and is never really seen for who she is (but rather, for who everyone wants her to be). Having said this, I fell in love with Quentin and his quirkiness, and Margo is the girl I want to meet/aspire to someday to similar to so I can't be too critical and learn about the different concepts of life and how to be daring in situations. Green knows these people and has lit them from inside with realism and dimension. 

Okay, I think I have rambled enough for anyone who is still reading this. The point is I don’t think that ‘Paper Towns’ is the best book I have read nor do I think that it is by far the best John Green book out there; however, I would still recommend it to those who want to read it. 

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