Sunday, November 17, 2013

Book Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking For Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Pages: 272
Price: Rs 299
Genre: Fiction / Young Adult / Contemporary
Rating: 7/10
Format: Paperback

About the book [from the GoodReads page]

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:

Once I read the brilliant ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green, I was eager to pick up another book by the author. Someone suggested ‘Looking for Alaska’ and I jumped at the chance. Though this book is not in the league of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, it is certainly a good read. I started, finished and reviewed this book in a single day, despite my limited reading hours. That itself tells a lot about it.

Miles Halter’s life has been ordinary and uneventful until he moves from Florida to Alabama to join Culver Creek Boarding School. There he makes friends with the brainy and brawny Chip Martin [called ‘Colonel’ by everyone, who is his roommate], the witty Takumi, and the unpredictable Alaska Young [‘the hottest girl in all of human history’, as Miles puts it]. From that time onwards, Miles' life is a maze of attending classes, studying, playing pranks, smoking cigarettes, drinking booze; while also falling in love with Alaska.

Each one of them has a talent. Miles likes to learn the last lines of famous people. Colonel is good at memorizing things, especially about countries, their capitals, population, etc. Takumi is a rapper, while Alaska just likes being an enigma. She is moody, without feeling the need to explain herself. Alaska claims to be in love with his boyfriend Jake, but she is often flirty with Miles.

The book is in 2 parts – Before and After [of an event]. The story begins at ‘One Hundred and Thirty Six Days Before’ and ends at ‘One Hundred and Thirty Six Days After’, and everything is in-between - excitement, curiosity, love, friendship, trust, guilt, love, loss.

Well, in short, the book was emotional, funny and sometimes also philosophical. It will appeal to you if you like Young Adults genre – the vulnerabilities, the innocence, the mischief and the beauty of young love.

Here are a few of my favourite lines quoted from the book:

I’d never been religious. But he told us that religion is important whether or not we believed in one, in the same way that historical events are important whether or not you personally lived through them.”

 “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.” 

 “I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.” 

Image source: Flipkart

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