Monday, December 29, 2014

"It is so hard to leave - until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world"

Paper Towns by John Green
The people are the place is the people
This past weekend in the Ardennes I finished reading Paper Towns (2008) by sexy middle-aged father figure John Green. With a couple days off from work over the holidays, I had put the book aside to end the year with. 

Why this book, you ask?

  1. I find there are no better books to cosy up with than John Green books.
  2. The movie is set to be released  mid-2015 and promises to be a whole bunch of awesome. Seriously though, could they have found a more perfect Margo Roth Spiegelman than supermodel Cara Delevingne?
  3. Black Santas.
  4. Having read Paper Towns before, I was assured that I'd enjoy the bleep out of it.


The skinny

Quentin Jacobsen is a pretty normal high school senior. He enjoys playing video games, hanging out with his best friends Ben and Radar and marvelling over how weird his parents are. His No.1 occupation, however, is loving his adventurous neigbhor Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. Having drifted apart after being best friends as young kids, she one night climbs into his window for an ingenious night of revenge on her ex-boyfriend and a slew of other people. The next day at school, Margo doesn't show up. Q of course goes looking for her.

The review

If you even remotely liked Green's The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska, you'll enjoy Paper Towns. The colorful cast of characters, the many metaphors, the bittersweetness of love and life... All the John Green ingredients are there, so jot that down. The book also subtly offers insight into high school cliques, image and the concept of "knowing" another person. I particularly liked the mirror (seeing people for what you are) and window (seeing people for what they are) metaphor, learning about the existence of paper towns, and how Green wove Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass into the story.

Second thoughts

I realized something strange while rereading Paper Towns. I remember crushing on Margo the first time around, loving her mysterious ways and how she wanted to get her childhood friend Quentin out of his comfort zone. The second time? Not so much. Her selfish and unthinking ways evoked little sympathy, and cowardly fleeing instead of dealing with her problems at home even made me dislike her. Weird how that happens.

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