Looking for Alaska by John Green

July 19, 2010
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“Is the labrynth living or dying?” are some of Alaska’s greatest words. Actually, the words set the scene for the entire book. The book, that of which is so compelling, honest, and heartwrenching. The book that makes you fall in love with its characters and want to answer its questions. The book that puts you on a quest to find out what the answer is. The answer, however, is not so much an answer as it a reason to feel like you’ve reached enlightenment.
Miles is a less-than-normal nerdy teenage boy who leads a minor life. He’s the quiet boy with no friends who yearns for more, and who wishes for a Great Perhaps. Although his mother debates it, he wishes to follow in his father’s footsteps and attend Culver Creek, a co-ed boarding school that boasts the smartest and some of the richest students around. Ignoring his mothers debate, Miles gets his way and attends the victoriously smart boarding school. Soon though, he finds out that getting what you want may not be what you truly wanted to begin with. Analytical and well thought out, ‘Looking For Alaska’ is written so well that it makes you feel like you yourself are admist the many students at Culver Creek…or “The Creek” as it is better known.
Soon after meeting his cocky and confident roomate, he meets the girl who opens his eyes to a new light. His first cigarette, his first co-ed swing session, his first look at a woman’s curves, and his first drink of alcohol were all with Alaska, the mysterious, confusing, and impulsive girl that steals all boys hearts and who does something that no one can understand. She’s filled with guilt from her mother’s death and boasts in the fact that no one can ever understand her. Although Miles tries hard to prove that fact wrong, he never does fully know her. Come to think of it, no one really knows Alaska Young. However, after reading the book you’ll feel like you know her.
The amazing thing about ‘Looking for Alaska’ is the fact that you can relate to every character, every word, and every question. As I sat on my mother’s couch and waited for laundry to get done drying, I read the entire book, almost forgetting that my daughter was asleep by the fireplace and that the dryer was going. I forgot that I was in Ocean Shores. That’s when you know you’re admist an incredible book, you know when you set the book down and reality hits you like Alaska hit the cop car. And then you wonder: How are you going to get out of this labrynth? When will you reach enlightenment? Why didn’t Alaksa call 911? What happens to Miles after he returns home? Most of those questions are unanswerable. And as I say that, I think about the author, John Green, and how I feel he wrote the book to teach us that we have to come to terms with those kinds of things. Unanswerable questions, death, moving on, forgetting, and more imporantly Forgiving.
If anyone should read this book, it should be people who have lost someone. To the streets, drugs or alchol, death, or a boardingschool…anyone who has lost someone will read this and have no choice but to have to realize that the labrynth we are in is not going to end because we want it to, and it won’t go on eternally because we want it to. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll smile half way to the right like Alaska does and you’ll say, “I’ve thought the same thing! I’ve done that! I’ve been there!” That’s what is so incredibly fascinating. You have to read ‘Looking for Alaska’. Everyone has to read it because it’s the most honest book you will ever find, and I thank my librarian Michelle Dudley for handing it to me.

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