marginalia || Looking for Alaska, by John Green

When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail. . . Thomas Edison’s last words were: “It’s very beautiful over there.” I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.

Having read John Green‘s Looking for Alaska is like being in possession of a secret you can’t wait to divulge. So, please, read this. Damn the preconceptions. It’s a beautiful book. I mean, this is what I wrote in my notebook, all I could write: Good books. Mmm. They just make sense, don’t they? Loving this book. It’s snatched my heart and the world is making sense, and then it isn’t, and then it’s making sense again. I don’t know what I’m saying. It’s a deceptively simple novel about loss and love, and what being young feels like, and how pain reverberates seemingly endlessly when we’re young. It’s about looking for that Great Perhaps, and doubting its existence, doubting one’s self. It’s about continuing on to that Great Perhaps. It’s about the infiniteness of youth — our glory days, as a friend of mine said just last night. It’s about being happy and not bothering to name it, it’s about being angry. It’s about finding something to cling to, if only until you realize you’re on steady ground.

I am speaking in tongues, I know. Still.

Old Man Hyde, professor of World Religions, asks his students, What is your cause for hope? I have written this question down on my notebook, and have reserved a modest page for the answer. I can only hope that more pages shall serve this question. And yes, that answer is slow in coming, but I’m getting there. I’m taking all the time I need.

__________

PS – I never would have read this — never would have picked it up — if it weren’t for Carina [her book-love & book-ramblings are here]. So, thank you, Lovely. Very, very muchly.

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19 comments

  1. I recently read Paper Towns by John Green (review forthcoming) and loved it; it is also like being privy to a secret that you can’t wait to divulge. Delighted to know that this is similarly wonderful!

    1. I’m definitely reading Paper Towns next, so I eagerly await your review. :) John Green’s one of the best discoveries I’ve had this reading year.

  2. HI, I LOVE YOU. <3 Really, I do. Let's meet up soon, please.

    1. I love you back. Thanks for this book, the earth moved. :] Let’s try this weekend? I’ll try to work on downplaying my awkwardness, as always. [One would think we’d never met in real life, haha.] Hugs!

  3. I’m intrigued! Loved your line “…Having read (this) is like being in possession of a secret you can’t wait to divulge. ” Who can resist? I’m looking for this on my next trip to the bookstore.

    1. Thank you! :) You might find it in the YA section. John Green has said that he wrote it with high school readers in mind, but it’s definitely a book that transcends demographics.

  4. Speaking in tongues aside, I think it can only be a good sign when a book renders you speechless (or as speechless as a book blogger can be!). I hadn’t even heard of this but it’s going on my “word of mouth” list.

    1. Hi, Lija. :’) I’ve long heard of John Green but I kept staying away because of preconceptions of the YA genre. But I found it very lovely, in a gruffly tender kind of way.

  5. […] Byatt, and I girded my loins to read Possession. My friend Carina loves John Green, and so I read Looking for Alaska. When asked what his most favorite book is, P. answers, “Alice’s Adventures in […]

  6. Now I really want to read this book! I kept seeing it every time I went to a bookstore just begging me to grab it!

    1. Hi, Jamie. :) I hope that if you decide to buy and read it, you enjoy it. :) And I love your blog name!

  7. stilettostorytime · · Reply

    Love, Love, Loved this book when I first read it when it came out! So excited when I saw you had read it!

    Courtney

    1. I was just really awed by this little gem, so unassuming. I knew it’d be good — many love it — but I didn’t realize it would affect me so much. :)

  8. This has been in my “to comment” queue in Google Reader for a while. Basically I just wanted to say after reading your review I definitely want to read this!

    1. Hi, Alli. Hope that when you get to read this, you’ll enjoy it. It really blew me away. Especially because I thought it wouldn’t. :)

  9. […] Looking for Alaska, by John Green. […]

  10. […] Green’s writing has been described as being privy to “a secret you can’t wait to divulge” and “like a John Hughes film… quirky and funny [mixed with] Sofia Coppola” (both […]

  11. […] Looking for Alaska, by John Green […]

  12. […] second John Green (what is wrong with me?), and, no, An Abundance of Katherines is not as good as Looking for Alaska, but it’s one fun, affective […]

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