As all John Green books are, this book was fabulous. He’s a wonderful writer, and really manages to pull off awkward-teenage-boy when he writes, even though he’s thirty-something. This book was probably a little inappropriate for my age, due to the fact that it is filled with smoking and drinking and swear words, but I liked it a lot anyways. Here’s a summary:
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” (Francois Rabelais, poet) even more. 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, 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.
I have been wanting to read this book for ages, but the friend who was going to lend it to me is the slowest reader in the world, so my mother bought it for me. Anyway, it’s fantastic.
This book is split into two parts: before and after. I strongly preferred the ‘before’ portion of this book because I really liked Alaska’s character. She was extremely interesting. She was a terrible influence on Pudge, but I can live with that.
I didn’t really have a favorite character in this book. I didn’t really get to know Takumi or Lara well enough, so they aren’t my favorites, and the Colonel got really intense later on. There’s nothing wrong with Pudge, really, but he has, like, zero willpower. Which was annoying. But I did find the book to be hilarious and original, and I loved it.
THE NEXT PART HAS SPOILERS IN IT. I’M SORRY. YOU CAN READ IT ANYWAY, IF YOU WANT, THOUGH.
I love the mystery surrounding Alaska’s death. Did she kill herself? Was the car accident actually an accident? I personally think she killed herself. All the reasons are there. There was that time she was like, “Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die.” And she drank a lot, and she generally seemed like she didn’t much care for herself. And on the day she died, she realized she’d forgotten to bring flowers to her mother’s grave, and she cheated on her boyfriend, who she loves. On their anniversary. But I also don’t think those are good-enough reasons to kill yourself. Given, there’s never a good reason to kill yourself, but those seemed like minor things to me. I mean, she was totally crazy, so there’s that.
Or maybe the Colonel’s theory is correct. Maybe she wasn’t planning on killing herself, but she just felt like, in that moment, it was easier than facing her suck-y life again.
Also, side question: how do you address the Colonel? Like, “Hi, the Colonel?” “Hi, Colonel?” Or are you just supposed to make it clear who you’re speaking to in other ways? I don’t know.
Anyway, this was a great book, and I recommend it to the entire world. I’m giving it four stars because I feel like it was too much at times. But otherwise, bravo, John Green!