Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The taste of leaving: Paper Towns

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
My Rating: 4.4/5

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.  After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew."

Despite the high rating, I have mixed feelings for this book. And by mixed feelings I mean I'm not a fan of the relatively slow start of the story. I understand that the night Margo and Quentin spend together in the beginning of the book has a big significance later in the plot, and the things they did that night is great and all, but at some point it just didn't really engage me anymore. 
So I had a slow, growing-to-love kind of relationship with this book. But as the story carried on, I became completely engrossed in it. Sorry about that French worksheet that I never turned in, Madame . The thing about John Green is that, as a YA author, he never tries to talk down to his readers. He has these amazing insights into coming of age, and sometimes these insights require some thinking on the reader's part, and he doesn't dumb it down for us. It is in this rewarding thinking that I often find myself transformed into some new level of self-awareness and understanding of the world. It's truly incredible, especially when the story is not only philosophical but also very frequently hilarious (*SPOILERS*: oh my god Ben's little problem on their "graduation road trip" oh my god I just laughed to death at one in the morning while my roommate slept soundly on the bed next to mine).

The ending is especially enlightening, and it totally made me cry. Dang it, the entire read I was like wow I didn't cry to this one isn't that something now--come ending and I am oh so screwed. If I explain why I was so moved by the ending, I will probably totally ruin the story for you, so I am going to be a nice person and not do that. I am going to talk about a few quotes from the book that really got me.

Timeout. Before getting to the quotes, I forgot to tell y'all something: I am currently a high school senior, 61 short short short short days away from graduation. I have people (okay, one person especially) that I hold very dearly to my heart, and the thought of having to say goodbye--maybe forever--just breaks my heart. So this book was the perfect, spot-on, just-in-time remedy for me.

Now, back to those lovely quotes:

"Doing stuff never feels as good as you hope it will feel." (77)

"She raised on leg and gave me all her weight as I dipped her. She either trusted me or wanted to fall." (79)

"It's a metaphor for adolescence: writing in a language--adulthood--you can't comprehend, using an alphabet--mature social interaction--you can't recognize." (86)

"Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl." (199)

"It is so hard to leave--until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world." (229)

"Marco knows the secret of leaving, the secret I have only just now learned: leaving feels good and pure only when you leave something important, something that mattered to you." (234)

"But there she is, and I am watching her through the Plexiglas, and she looks like Margo Roth Spiegelman, this girl I have known since I was two--this girl who was an idea that I loved." (282)

Vanessa :]

Forgot to say: surprisingly I liked this book more than Looking For Alaska.

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