“That didn’t happen, of course. Things never happened the way I imagined them.”
Miles Halter also addressed as ‘Pudge’ in the entire novel, is the main character and an average teenager. Apart from his weird obsession with people’s last words, he was pretty much normal until he met her… Alaska Young – A beautiful young girl, rebellious, with an ego and aura of self-confidence. Without meaning to, he starts falling for her, hard & fast. But what if they were never meant to be together? Read ‘Looking for Alaska’ to dive headlong in the messed up lives of Miles Halter and Alaska Young.
Another John Green novel… After reading two of his novels, I was practically trying to get my hands on his few other books. I had already established that John Green is a pro in describing the teenage life and the struggles which come along it with great sincerity and diplomacy.
So, this is another book which left me digging for words and trying to form coherent sentences. Reviewing this book is a very difficult task because I suppose that whatever I say, will not give justice to this book. It is practically impossible for me to describe the book. But oh well… so here goes nothing…
You know, there comes a time in life when we become overly conscious. We put our focus and observe things minutely – our looks, our behavior, our way of handling ourselves, our relationships, our beliefs, our fears – everything. Every single detail about ourselves. We become self – conscious & this happens during our high school age. We change, a hell lot for that matter. Not just physically, but emotionally as well.
This is the change which John Green has mentioned in his book. One of the many best parts of the book was that everything he described was in the brutal and proper light without anything lingering in the shadows. This is what a teenager will expect to read in order to understand himself better. Also, despite this being his first book, John has it flawlessly perfect!
I loved the story. The writing, the plot, the twists & don’t even get me started on the characters. One best thing about John Green is that his characters feel alive. They feel real. While reading the book, I could not read it as a fiction. For all I know, there is some Miles Halter & there is some Alaska Young whom I know nothing about. And yes! They are somewhere out in this very world. They might be living their messed up lives in the same way the story portrays.
Out of all the very wonderful characters, I felt connected to Miles and Alaska the most. It was as if I understood them, understood their lives, understood their conditions & moreover, understood why they see life the way they see it. The characters more or less made me see my very own replica.
John has an agonizingly beautiful way to carve out his thoughts. The way he understands teenagers is unbelievable. I mean, he knows what happens to teenagers in which situation. The way he understands the mental status of a teen is beyond my understanding. One part of the book was where most of the characters ended up blaming themselves due to certain circumstances. That feeling of guilt and excruciating pain can practically be felt whilst reading.
You know, it is the tendency of any teenager to blame himself for any action – whether it is his fault or not! He twists & turns the scenario, think too much and then BAM! ‘It is all my fault!!!’ Yeah! It’s true. We, teenagers, blame ourselves for every single thing that happens in our life. We think way too much and even if the problem was never in our control, to begin with, we still find a way to blame ourselves. This is what John depicts via this novel. The constant guilt consuming a teenager. We are way too naïve to even understand that we had no hand in whatsoever we are facing right now.
Apart from all this, some stereotypes are also triggered in this story based on religion which, I must admit are astonishing. “People believe in the afterlife just because they couldn’t bear ‘not’ to…!” Yeah! This is one of the many lines which touched my heart and I ain’t forgetting it any time soon. The concept of religion was pretty much relatable to the plot and had a significant part in the building of the story.
“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.” The labyrinth… The most beautiful metaphor in the entire novel. I loved the way John Green used this metaphor. It was superb and moreover, it was true…
We teens have this weird habit of delaying things. We know that we are stuck in some absurd situation, but rather than facing it at that very moment, we tend to take our time thinking about what we are supposed to be doing. Just like the quote, we use our future to escape our present. We imagine things the way they ‘ought’ to be but we refuse to face the reality. And it’s because of this wild imagination, we suffer a lot.
Teenagers are emotionally vulnerable but you know, John Green quoted “We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.” Yes! It’s true. Despite being emotionally fragile, we get over things. All we need is to give things time because time heals things… That’s what John has made us all understand.
Like any other John Green book, this book is also extremely deep and thought-provoking. John never fails to leave me pondering on a single topic for days straight. The ideas presented in this book are fresh and although this was the debut of John Green and I read it last, I found myself engrossed in this piece of writing and discovered various aspects of a teenage life. While sleeping, while eating, while drinking, all I could think about was ‘What about the labyrinth?’ or ‘What is life?’ and most importantly… ‘Who am I in this huge world?’ I guess this is what John Green does to all of us. He makes us question ourselves and our decisions.
A little advice though. This book is insanely awesome but I don’t think that the people apart from the teens will actually enjoy it. The elders because they have already crossed this stage and are over their insecurities. The younger ones because… well, there are things which they won’t understand.
Finally, I would like to say that guys, you might not weep buckets like you probably must have in The Fault in Our Stars, but I do assure you that this a story which will stay with you forever… throughout your life… And remember guys…
“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”