Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska



Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

I’m so glad this was my first exposure to John Green. He is a storytelling master. He told a realistic and tragic and wonderful story about a random teenager and how his life was changed.

This story starts out completely ordinary, but grows into something extraordinary. And it’s all thanks to Alaska. Alaska was such an intriguing character. I wasn’t sure what to think of her at first. It wasn’t until I was almost halfway through that I really began to realize what kind of character she was. She’s probably one of the most complex characters that I’ve read about in a very long time.

This wasn’t a particularly exciting plot, but that’s okay. It moved at a pace that allowed you time to reflect on what was happening. And boy, was there a lot to reflect on. This is a book that makes you think really really hard about some things, and it’s so easy to see why it won the Printz medal.

MATURE CONTENT: There’s a reason I don’t really read realistic fiction. There’s usually more drinking and sexual content, and other nasty stuff. This was exploding with all that. After only the first few chapters, I found myself frequently replacing words with new words such as fork and spit. There were endless sexual references, as well as several vivid sexual scenes, and I started skipping once the pants came off. And the characters were almost always drunk and/or smoking.


1 comment:

  1. That's also one of the reasons I don't often enjoy realistic fiction. Frankly, things like drugs and excessive drinking often mean I don't like the character--or at least that I can't relate to them. I'm not friend with drug addicts in real life, so why would I make an exception for fictional people?

    I haven't read Looking for Alaska yet, but if you're looking for more John Green, The Fault in Our Stars sounds better content-wise. There is sex, but the sort where you kind of just know the characters had sex--nothing too descriptive.

    In this case, I found I didn't mind the sex as content. But it was also a bit of a sticking point with me because in my personal worldview, having sex is neither the culmination of a relationship nor of life--which seemed to be the implication in The Fault of Our Stars. Basically I didn't find their having sex as moving or beautiful as I was evidently supposed to.


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