Looking for Alaska.

12:39 AM

Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating: 4 stars

What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said? I'm sure people are aware of the huge hype over this book and of course, John Green and his massive fan base. I was reluctant to succumb to the hype but I finally bought the book and decided to give it a try. It is definitely a quick read thanks to the easy flow of the writing and lots of light-hearted and humorous moments that genuinely made me laugh out loud. I have to say that this book is deserving of its hype. Not 'cos of the storyline or plot, which is rather commonplace in many YA books, but mostly 'cos of the way the story is written and how the author executes his plot.

The story centers around a boy named Miles (who was later lovingly nicknamed Pudge by his friends) and his pursuit for the Great Perhaps as he chooses to transfer schools from a public school to a boarding school in Alabama. Through his smart but badboy-ish roommate nicknamed Colonel, he meets a girl named Alaska and the story is how his life is turned completely changed and turned upside-down by her. It is also about him falling in love with this impulsive, unpredictable, intelligent and self-destructive girl.

I loved how the book is divided into two parts 'Before' and 'After', with countdowns to the Major Incident that happens within the book that rocks everyone's lives and is the clearly marked turning point of the whole story. It sort of gave me the thrill of what is the BIG event that will kind of change everyone. Like a countdown to fireworks, only of course, far far sadder. And the 'after' we see how each character, especially Pudge copes with it.

Another thing I love about this book is the richness in characters and the adventures that Pudge embarks on with his friends, who are all bad-ass, rule-breakers and all about living life on the edge. Pudge was a total nobody before transferring. He had no friends, and he didn't mind not having any. He was the epitome of nobody-ness. Then after befriending Colonel, he to changes into someone less socially introverted and is not afraid of taking risks. Their recklessness was about enjoying every moment in life to the fullest, but at the same time, it also hides the problems that they try to ignore or bury and most of all the sadness that is within these teenagers. Alaska is so mysterious and extremely unpredictable, even at the book, Pudge resigns to the fact that he didn't know much about her and neither do we, the readers. We only catch glimpses of her past and she changes her personality and moods so fast that even I am confused as to who is the real her. But that just makes it harder for Pudge who fell for her and fell for her hard. Even though, she kinda just played around with him and kept leading him on. We too never know for sure what her feelings for Pudge are.

To be honest, I kinda hated how mysterious and temperamental Alaska was. But maybe it's 'cos I'm a girl? I find her cool and intelligent. But her self-destructive nature and how she leads Pudge on made me dislike her. I kept wishing Pudge would just get over her already and forget about her. I felt Lara was a nice enough girl (LOL, for more than one reason, the BJ part was seriously a shocker). I felt that Alaska was an obsession for Pudge. and it certainly manifested till the very end.

Beneath the lightness of the pranks and high school drama, deep issues are tapped on and explored. Sex, love, life and death. The idea that life itself is a labyrinth of suffering and that some times we may think that the only way out is straight and fast, but it takes more courage to choose to stay instead. It left me pondering alot about life and how I felt towards it. Whether I was as cynical and jaded as Alaska and Colonel and if I were, why is that so? It's a great book to discover yourself with.

My only pet-peeve is Alaska herself. I know that the whole point is not understand her, to not be able to figure her out. But she's so complex and mysterious that I find it hard to like her, or imagine why anyone would fall in love with her. That is just my own personal thing. Also, I dun really advocate the whole fuck-the-rules mentality that most people in this book seemed to have. I guess, maybe I am just too simple-minded.

Overall, though, this book is top-notch stuff with writing that strikes deep into our darkest thoughts and voices out our own insecurities about life. At the same time, its easy flow allows us time in between to ponder and discover something about ourselves along the way.

Really, really lovely.

View all my reviews

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