Monday, 13 August 2012

Book Review: Looking for Alaska By John Green

Title: Looking For Alaska
Author: John Green
Series: N/A Stand Alone 
Publication Date: March 3rd 2005
Publisher: Speak/Harper Collins Children's books
Format: Paperback
Length: 221 pages
Genre: Contemporary
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Links: Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US |The Book depository

Synopsis (from goodreads)

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 had a love/hate relationship with this book. It made me cry, it made me smile and it made me shout. As a debut novel for John Green it was exceptionally good, but at times whilst reading i would ask myself: Where is the plot in this book? Now i wonder if it really was a book just to question some philosophical debates and to portray modern culture in honesty.

But John Greens writing really was brilliant. Witty, dynamic and full of sarcasm, his writing still managed to hold undertones of seriousness in it which really made you think. Some passages i would read and be so overwhelmed by their brilliance that i would just stop and think "John really is an utter genius." 

I think part of the reason i had a love/hate relationship with this book, was down to the fact that Pudge or 'miles' really did annoy me at some points. Partly to the fact i didn't relate to him at all and partly because i found his character a bit boring or 2-dimensional compared to The Colonel and Alaska. The Colonel and Alaska i thought were so alive and vibrant  compared to Pudge who i found a bit dull. Maybe that was purposely done or maybe I'm just being picky, but whatever the reason it made it damn hard to read the 200 or so pages in the head of someone i didn't really like. 

What made up for this however was the complete honesty of how the world is today. Im not saying everyone drinks, smokes and has sex but it is certainly a big part of culture and this really made the book real for me. There was no sugar covered literature but just the raw, however gritty,good old truth and it really sent this book in the right direction.

After thinking about it for a long time, i have come to the conclusion that, for me, its faults add to the raw honesty of this book and that with its imperfections it strides to brilliance. It made me laugh and cry at the same time and i think its safe to say, that evan with my doubts, it would be a crime not to read this book. Four stars!

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