Looking for Alaska – Book review

 I believe there is hope for us all, even amid the suffering-and maybe even inside the suffering. And that’s why I write fiction, probably. It’s my attempt to keep that fragile strand of radical hope, to build a fire in the darkness.

(John Green from his interview with Penguin Group)

LOOKING FOR ALASKA is the type of books which made me feel, think and laugh. Some of the characters reminded me of JELLICOE ROAD because of the way they were developed: fully layered, fully there in the story and fully jumping out of the pages.

Summary from Goodreads: Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

As I´ve mentioned before, I am not used to read from a guy´s perspective. Sometimes, I even wonder  before getting into a book with this type of POV if I will really enjoy it. Being in Miles´ (aka Pudge) head didn´t feel forced in any ways, shape or form. I had high expectations for this book which can translate in me waiting with my fluttering heart to be amazed, on the look for the sentences, for the special moments. This usually means that I enjoy the story but I can get too busy trying to find its greatness to really enjoy it. Does it make sense?

                                                                                                                                          Source: besttshirtparty.blogspot.ca via Elodie on Pinterest

With LOOKING FOR ALASKA, I had a bit of this modus operandi where I was in the story without being in, until I let myself just read…

I started to think about what one may go through when one is looking for The Great Perhaps or the questions we ask ourselves when faced with tragedy. The beauty of the book was that I didn´t feel forced or pushed one way or another. I appreciated this. John Green mentions in an interview with The School Library Journal: “It’s a funny book, but it’s also a book about the universality of suffering and grief and forgiveness and whether or not there’s a reason for radical hope”. 

The universality of emotions. So important. So true. No matter where people come from. Those were conversations I remember having in High school with my friends and it resonated.

And then there are the characters. As I mentioned, when reading, I was quickly falling in love with them: their quirks, their interaction, their passions, their humor…

My favorite one has to be The Colonel. John Green gives us the privilege to get to know a gentleman in the making. The Colonel doesn´t have it easy, he´s difficult, bossy and moody but he´s there for his friends (at least tries to be), he shows so much respect for his mother…He´s also funny. Alaska is interesting. So full of life. Bigger than life. Tortured. Unsure. Sure. Full of contradictions. They´re all growing up as the story goes…

Some of my favorite quotes:

  • (…) but if I hadn’t imagined it, I would never have gotten to the Creek at all (p. 54)
  • Now I understood why the Colonel was short – he couldn’t afford to be any taller (p. 91)
  • I’ll say “Thanks”. Man, she helped fill out my application to this place. And she let me come here, and that’s no easy thing when you come from where we do, to let your son go away to school (p. 116)
  • After so much kissing that it almost started to get boring (p. 123)
  • I could not go alone, and going with anyone other than the Colonel would amount to alone (p. 148)
  • It always shocked me when I realised that I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things (p. 213)

So tell me, what book are you anxiously waiting to read?

6 Comments on “Looking for Alaska – Book review

  1. LOOKING FOR ALASKA has been on my TBR list for a while–in fact it’s sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read it. And I look forward to getting to it. John Green is a fabulous writer. And this was a good review. Thanks, Elodie. :)

  2. Oh yes, LOOKING FOR ALASKA is a great book. It was the first John Green book I read (which makes sense, since it was his first), and it set the bar pretty high for me in terms of expectations for his others. Great book!

  3. I really need to get around to more John Green. I read AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES some time back, and didn’t love it as much as I was expecting to, but then it doesn’t seem to be one of his books that is much talked about anyway. I actually already own a copy of LOOKING FOR ALASKA, so I should take a look at it. :)

  4. LOOKING FOR ALASKA is one of my all-time favorites. John Green is such an amazing writer–I wish I had a thimbleful of his talent!

  5. Looking for Alaska is one of my favorite books ever. I read it the summer after my uncle passed away, and it really resonated with me, in the state I was in, and I feel like reading it helped me through that time a lot. Also, like you, I wasn’t too sure about reading from a male POV, but this book definitely changed my mind.

Comments put a smile on my face :-)

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