Despite my everlasting need of “getting things out of my system,” the “November effect” I have every freaking year got to me now, too. As a result – a constant feel of not having energy to do anything was added to the almost constantstate of not having enough time. Therefore – I have read like 4 books during the weeks I was away from the blog – and finally the time came to review at least one of them.
By the way, I’m never too tired or too busy to just not read.
Let’s get to the chase now.
“Looking for Alaska” is the second book I’ve read by John Green, and it belongs to the rather enigmatic group of “young adults books.” Not sure what it really means – apart from being about tenagers – but nevertheless, I like some of them a lot, so usually decide to look past the fact that I have left my teenage years behing me long time ago. First book by John Green that I read was “The fault in Our Start” – a stroy of teenagers who had cancer. A story I read in one or two days and literally cried buckets doing so. Which I admit, a little ashemed, a year and a half later.
Now, “Looking for Alaska”, is about a shy teenage boy, whose name I actually had to check in the net, since I forgot (it’s Miles). He changes schools, moving to a boarding house and meeting new, exciting friends in the process. He has first sexual expierences, falls in love, learns about loss and unfairness of this world. Basically, the book has everything a young adults book should have. Plus a tradegy in the middle.
I’m honeslty not sure how to describe this novel. As I said, it has what a YA book should have. My problem with it I guess is stricly personal. I didn’t feel attached to the main characters, I didn’t feel I could relate to them. And it wasn’t because they were younger than I am, because I usually can relate to teenagers from books I read. There’s something else I can’t put my finger on. So, let’s just write what I liked about the book and what I didn’t. Sort of like advangates and disadvantages – something I hated to write back in school when they made us write esseys “Advantages and disadvantages of this one or that one (for English classes). Seriously, hated those.
Anyway, I liked the “last words” theme. Miles was fascinated with last words of famous dead people. He would memorizing them and thought them fascinating. Once he explained that the last words said a lot about a person, what kind of a human being they were while alive. I disagree, nevertheless I did enjoy that theme. As much as I enjoyed the fact that every teenager was intelligent and had some “special talent”. Escpecially Miles’ friend’s, Chip’s (called “The Colonel), who had the talent of remembering the name of the capitals of various countries in the world.
Another thing I liked about it was that it was written in a fast, appreachable way. It was an “easy read”, which I guess matters for this kind of literature. I also like that there were no easy answers and a realistic ending, not too sad, not too merry. Just down to earth. Plus, it was short.
What didn’t I like? Let me just say it’s my personal opinion and my emotions and I respect if you have a different opinion. So, I didn’t like the character of Alaska. She seriosly got on my nerves. Yes, I get it, she had a reason, she had a difficult past, trauma from childhood, as it’s later explained. Nevertheless, I just don’t like it when people behave in such unpredictable way. Alaska was just “all over the place” and you could never guess what she was going to do next – which would be cute and funny probably, if she wasn’t so rude and moody almost all of the time.
The other thing I didn’t like – the book made – or was trying to make – smoking a cool thing. And drinking. It seemed like that was the basis of their friendship. Yes, they had some good rules, yes, they were intelligent kids and all of that, but still… I personally don’t think it’s such a great thing to waste your youth on smoking and drinking.
(Word of explanation – yes, I drink. I am totally and wholeheartedly against smoking, but drinking? Oh yeah. But in this book, I don’t know. There was something that rubbed me the wrong way about those kids drinking.)
Before having written this reveiw, I read on the net that it was critisized for “pornography and sex scenes.” What can I reply to this? I’m not sure. I feel like I should be appaled by the sex scene – let’s not forget teenagers are most probable to read it – but I wasn’t. Seriously, I’ve got nothing more to add.
Sometimes if I write something down it helps me settle things down, to have a clearer picture of what I think/feel. Not in this case. My feelings after reading this novel are sort of like “I should have liked it, but I didn’t.” It’s not that I hated it. It was a fast read, but for me it could and should have been something more. It just wasn’t as emotionally charged and powerful and one might expect – and as people claim it is. For me it’s rather forgettable – but from the reviews I gather I’m rather a minority.