Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy 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. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.
Alaska is a mysterious character. She loves to have fun, drink, and smoke, but beneath this facade is an extremely emotional and a broken person.
The protagonist, Pudge’s character is very relatable. His ordinary life, after arriving at Culver Creek, has taken a drastic turn. In an attempt to adjust to the new life and make friends, he gets involved in drinking and smoking.
“Looking for Alaska” talks about friendship over everything else. I love how all the friends stand by each other in tough times. The characters are well crafted, whether it is Alaska’s attention to minute details, Pudge’s innocence, Takumi’s humour, or the Colonel’s desire to always support his friends.
Like John Green’s other stories, this one is yet another tragedy.
John Green’s writing style is easy to understand. His descriptions are very detailed and visual. His stories are fun to read because there are so many hidden messages and quotes that you can relate to. The more time you read the book, the more you understand what he is trying to say.
I love how he talks about the labyrinth we are stuck in.
“He was shaken by the overwhelming revelation that the headlong race between his misfortunes and his dreams was at that moment reaching the finish line. The rest was darkness. ‘Damn it,’ he sighed. ‘How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!’ ”
“That’s the mystery, isn’t it? Is the labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape–the world or the end of it?”
“It’s not life or death, the labyrinth”… “So what is it?”… “Suffering…doing wrong and having wrong things happen to you. That’s the problem. Bolivar was talking about pain.”
John Green talks so much about it in the book and let the reader wonder, letting them explore the questions he generates.
Comparison between “Looking For Alaska” and “Paper Towns”:
I was shocked to see that “Looking For Alaska” follows the same theme as “Paper Towns” by the same author. The similarities were insane.
- The personalities of the protagonist, Pudge, and the girl he loves, Alaska, is the same as Quentin and Margo in “Paper Towns”.
- The rich and scrawny guy bullied by people and his way-out-of-the-league, pretty, and prankster love interest.
- Pranks are central to both the stories.
- In both the stories, the girl happens to upheaval the normal life of the protagonist and their group of friends with her bottled up thoughts.
- The moral of the story remains the same: You can never know what’s going on in someone’s mind. You can never know a person as well as you think you can.
There are a few notable differences.
- Both the stories unfold differently.
- The quest for the truth in “Looking For Alaska” is different from the quest to find Margo in “Paper Towns”
- While the clues were dropped in “Paper Towns” that helped Quentin search for Margo, Pudge and his friends in “Looking for Alaska” relied solely on their conversations, making the story more real.
If you liked “Paper Towns” then you’ll definitely love “Looking for Alaska”