Looking For Alaska — John Green
“How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?” – Simon Bolivar
As for Alaska, direct and quick.
Looking back, Looking For Alaska misled me into visualizing teenagers journeying to Alaska (the US State that is), searching for a valuable tool/device that had gone astray along with the conviction that a distinctive personage within that realm could elucidate them from the secluded mysteries the tools possess. I am not exaggerating here, you know? *laughs* My imagination really is that intense. But that was before I have flipped the book and read the blurb. I have no idea who John Green was, how famous his books are, and that his debut-novel won a Printz award—until a month ago. So yeah, thanks for my cousin who lent it to me.
Miles “Pudge” Halter, a dorky, skinny teenage guy decided to go to the same boarding school his father attended in search for his “Great Perhaps.” Contrary to being friendless back in Florida, Pudge quickly befriends his roommate, a.k.a. The Colonel, and acquainted him to his clique—the Japanese, rap-loving Takumi; the gorgeous, clever, screwed-up Alaska; and the dainty Russian Lara.
The book was divided into two sections: The Before and The After. The Before consists of the misadventures of their party—the booze, smoke, pranks, sexual urges, and vulgarity; whereas The After comprises of dealing with loss, remorse, and eventually, enlightenment.
Honestly, I couldn’t relate with the characters at all. I don’t do stuff like that back in high school and neither these days. I regard myself a humdrum, insipid, socially awkward person but someone who doesn’t look like one, though not as friendless as Pudge were, back in Florida. My friends do those sort of things, but even if I hang with them, I refuse to participate in such activities. They always call me “killjoy” but that’s fine with me because it’s true. However, I could relate in some ways because I have been surrounded with such people as I have mentioned earlier. In addition, the BJ scene and the part where Alaska and Pudge watched an erotic video made me cringe and feel uncomfortable. Call me sissy.
Nevertheless, the aspects that made me love Looking For Alaska were the philosophical and religious outlooks that the book embodies. Admittedly, I have a penchant for such matters, and so Pudge and I have similarities after all. I always enjoy my religion class in grade school and high school, my seminary class at church, and theology class on my first year of college.
The characters were well-rounded, realistically constructed, and interestingly quirky. I liked the fact that through the end of the story, each of them finally came into realization and found disclosure distinctively. Therefore, I am truly convinced that the “Great Perhaps” isn’t a destination but a person’s journey through enlightenment.
All in all—the most thought-provoking story I have read yet. It made me realize some things in my life that I haven’t really bothered to think about or I have thought about but its significance didn’t occur to me. Silly me. I am definitely hunting down the rest of John Green’s novels.