Sunday, July 7, 2013

Guest Review | Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Guest review by Michael
December 2006 by Speak
231 pages
Amazon + Good Reads
4/5 stars

"Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been on big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the 'Great Perhaps' (François Rebelais, poet) even more. Then 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, sexy, 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.
After. Nothing is ever the same."
-Good Reads
Continue after the break for Michael's review of Looking for Alaska...

I went into this novel with an open mind as I’ve never read a John Green book. Most everyone said I should start off with “Looking for Alaska” since it’s John Green’s debut novel. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I’ve heard many people rave about his writing and I can see why. The writing itself was very well done. It wasn’t boring, it wasn’t over descriptive, it wasn’t under descriptive. Everything about John Green’s writing style was PERFECT.

First I will talk about the three noteworthy characters:

Miles aka “Pudge”: The story is told through the eyes of Pudge, a skinny, timid, virgin. This is (partly) his coming of age story about the time he spent at boarding school in Alabama, miles away from his home in Florida. He doesn’t really have friends at the beginning of the novel but he eventually makes friends at the boarding school. He’s also a non-smoker who smokes. I thought he was funny with the way he would describe things. If you like people who are timid but do crazy things that shock you, you’ll love Pudge.

Alaska: A hard headed, sex crazed, foul mouthed, beautiful wild child. She reminded me of Lindsay Lohan (I love Lohan, don’t be mislead). You soon find out why she is this way. Everyone has their problems and Alaska was dealt a bad hand. Even though she’s crazy, I couldn’t get enough of her. She was such a great character and I really connected with her and got really attached. I almost wished this story was told in her point of view.

Chip aka “The Colonel”: He’s exactly what his name insists. The leader. He makes all the directions, plans the pranks and calls all the shots... well... unless Alaska steps in. I can’t honestly say I connected with The Colonel as much as I did with Pudge or Alaska, but the novel could NOT have happened without him. He was the best supporting character in this novel. I pictured him as a linebacker with a teddy bear heart.

Now the reading experience:
The Bad: The book is divided into two parts: Before and After. I felt the Before was much stronger than the After because the After was basically a drawn out resolution. I didn’t think it was necessary for it to be split this way, because there was just too much After.  A couple pages into After, you hit the climax, however, I felt the resolution could very well have been summed up into about 10 pages after. Everything after getting to know how the characters felt after this was mostly Green trying to drag out the story and add pages.

The Good: I don’t hold anything against John Green for this book because it WAS his first novel, and I’ve heard from many people that his writing did get substantially better. I think if you read this novel, you WILL enjoy it, because it really isn’t that bad of a story. Green has an ability of getting you to like the characters to the point that if they get so much as a papercut, you want to jump in the story and take them to the emergency room.

Overall this was an enjoyable read and if you haven’t read it, you should. It’s funny, sad, sexy, and downright CRAZY.

Where can you find Michael?

Michael is a guest reviewer for ACReads. 

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