Saturday, 4 December 2010

Paper Towns by John Green [Review]

A few days ago I read and finished Paper Towns by John Green, in two days.
I'm a bit of a slow reader, so that's a fantastic pace for me.
And believe me, it was an absolutely fantastic book.

[I won't spoil any major plot points here, no worries!]

I'll start with a synopsis:
Quentin Jacobson is just an average high schooler. He spends his time studying, playing video games with his friends, and pining over his neighbor and long-time crush, Margo Roth Spiegelman. He's just living his life, when one night, Margo Roth Spiegelman climbs into his bedroom window and takes him on a late-night adventure he will never forget.
Quentin thinks that everything between he and Margo would change after that night, and he was right, but not in the way he imagined. Margo has disappeared, and in doing so, left behind clues for Quentin to find. Quentin Jacobson puts his life on hold in order to find her. However, the more clues he finds, the less he knows, about the girl and her location.

I've never read any books by John Green before, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had high expectations starting out, and they were all surpassed. I took this book very literally at first, but about halfway in, I realized that there is so much more to it. It isn't about about finding Margo Roth Spiegelman; not really. It's about relationships, Walt Whitman, who people really are. With her desire to go on a journey and escape the "paper people" (a metaphor for people who live their two-dimensional meaningless lives without question), I can really relate to Margo. ...At least, I think I can. I can relate to my version of her. Because that's what this all really is; we each have our own versions of people, both people in our lives and characters. And these versions are both wrong and right, and I don't think we can ever really know someone entirely. Most of the time we're just seeing reflections of ourselves.
"When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out."
-Paper Towns, John Green

The characters in this book feel just like kids I might run into at my own high school. Liable to be normal and boring, but they always have something interesting (and sometimes very funny) to say. John Green is one of those adults who hasn't lost his grasp of the adolescent years, something I always admire in adults. His writing is interesting, captivating, sometimes profound, and very funny. Lines such as "Talking to a drunk person was like talking to an extremely happy, severely brain-damaged three-year-old," or "Did you just use Greek mythology to talk trash?" would make me burst out laughing (and then promptly text it to my boyfriend!). However, this has to be one of the best lines in the entire book:
"Radar threw his books into his locker and shut it. Then the din of conversation around us quieted just a bit as he turned his eyes toward the heavens and shouted, "IT IS NOT MY FAULT THAT MY PARENTS OWN THE WORLD'S LARGEST COLLECTION OF BLACK SANTAS."
-Paper Towns, John Green
I mean, seriously.

All in all, I'd give this book five stars. I try not to give out five stars often, but this book was so freaking good. Like I said, I read it in 2 days, and that's because instead of watching TV or going online, I'd hide up in my room for three to five hours each day, and read every chance I get in class (laugh). I'll recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading. (I already have a list of people I'm going to loan my copy to. XD) I know there must be some cons to the book, but in all honesty, I really don't see them (I've read about some things people say they don't like, but I disagree!). This has become one of my favourite books.... It just means so much to me. I feel like I can't do this novel justice through this review, so I have three words for you, dear reader:

"There was no planning. No time for planning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future--you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college."
— John Green (Paper Towns)

 g h o s t i e
 John Green with the cover of Paper Towns


Hikari said...

I read Paper Towns, too! I loved it! It's deep. XD But yeah, John Green has a video blog on youtube: nerdfighters or something. He's hilarious, and he really hasn't let go of his younger years, even though he has a kid and stuff.

Ghostie said...

Yes, I've been watching John and Hank's vlog for some time now. ^^ Gotta love the vlogbrothers! I started to read Paper Towns awhile ago, but never got very far. I'm glad I read it when I did, after I was familiar with the vlogbrothers. It just sort of added something to the book, and I'd notice things, small instances where he put a bit of himself into a character. ^^ It was veery cool.