Looking for Alaska; book review

October 10, 2012
I’ve always wanted to read a John Green book and Looking for Alaska was the perfect book to start with. Miles Halter loves to learn people's dying or last words and when poet Francois Rabelais inspired him to look for the Great Perhaps, he decides to leave his boring home life and go to boarding school in Florida. “So this guy, I said standing in the door of the living room. Francois Rabelais. He was this poet. And his last words were I go to seek the Great Perhaps. That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”(pg. 5). When Miles arrives at Culver Creek, he meets the stunningly beautiful but corrupted Alaska Young who entwines him into her labyrinth of life and helps Miles with his pursuit of the Great Perhaps.

One character that was influential in Looking for Alaska was Dr. Hyde who is their world religions teacher. Only having one class him, Dr. Hyde proves himself as a teacher who may near his death bed but, he is far from the answers: “I must talk, and you must listen, for we are engaged here in the most important pursuit in history: the search of meaning. What is the nature of being a person? What is the best way to go about and be a person? How did we come to be, and what will become of us when we are no longer? In short: What are the rules of this game, and how might we best play it?” (pg. 32). Another character is Miles roommate who calls himself the Colonel and he is the one who keeps the characters together all throughout the book; he is probably my favorite character because his mannerisms are something I’ve never experienced in a book. He’s educated about the geography of the world and he also creates Miles’ nickname: “Pudge, because you’re skinny. It’s called irony Pudge. Heard of it?”(pg. 13). Even though the book is told in the view of Pudge, you know exactly how the Colonel is feeling and thinking. After meeting the Colonel, Pudge learns one thing: the biggest rule in Culver Creek is not to snitch.

After Pudge the Colonel, he is introduced to Takumi and they make a group of teenagers who are not afraid to speak their minds or stand up to the Weekday Warriors. “Basically you’ve got two groups here,’ he explained, with increasing urgency. ‘You’ve got the regular boarders, like me, and then you’ve got the Weekday Warriors; they board here, but they’re all rich kids who live in Birmingham and go home to their parents’ air-conditions mansions every weekend. Those are the cook kids. I don’t like them, and they don’t like me, and so if you came here thinking that you were hot s*** at public school so you’ll be hot s*** here, you’d best not be seen with me. You did go to public school, didn’t you?” (pg. 13). The Warriors tried to drown Pudge on his first night because he is in acquaintance with the Colonel and the Warriors think that the Colonel snitched on two other Warriors, even though the Colonel’s first rule is to never snitch. They also flooded Alaska’s room which has hundreds of books and for the Colonel, that was the tip of the iceberg.

As you continue the book, the chapters are the days counting down to the prank. The Colonel believes in getting even so, every year they perform a prank but this year will be the greatest one yet. They decided to use the pre-prank strategy to distract the principal while Alaska and Colonel go in for the actual prank. “Were the f*ing Marines’ he said. ‘First to fight, first to die’ I agreed nervously. ‘Hell yes’. He stopped and opened his bag. ‘Not here dude,’ I said. ‘We have to go to the Eagles’. ‘I know. Just- hold on’. He pulled out a brown thick headband. It was brown, with a plush fox head on the front. He put it on his head. ‘What the hell is that?’ ‘It’s my fox hat.’ ‘Your fox hat?’ ‘Yeah Pudge, my fox hat’ ‘Why are you wearing your fox hat?’ I asked. ‘Because no one can catch a mother f*ing fox.”(pg. 103). After the prank, they all hide away and we partially start to get an idea on why Alaska is the way she is; why she is so morbid and why she hates going home for the holidays.

This book teaches you that everything won’t have explanations or a ‘how to’ guide attached to it, but it shows us that there may be a Great Perhaps; showing us what life is about, looking for the Great Perhaps and may be figuring out a way to get of of the labyrinth of life. A horrid tragedy, unbreakable friendship, an amazing prank, Strawberry Hill wine, cigarettes, the Great Perhaps, the Labyrinth of life and love; those words are the main ideas of Looking for Alaska by John Green.

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