Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Paper Towns

Oh, John Green. I haven't read all of his books, but I've read a handful. Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars for starters; both books were relatively good and held my entertainment, so when I saw that Paper Towns was being made into a movie I figured it would be worth giving it a shot but, ultimately, what ended up happening was that I realized how similar Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns is by one major point: the women in the book.

But I don't want to start a review this way, just diving into my dislike or enjoyment, it needs to be set up first. Paper Towns follows senior Quentin Jacobsen as he looks for his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, who has run away. Margo and Quentin were closer when they were kids but then school came in the way, sending them spinning off into different school cliques and entertaining different friends, but Quentin always maintained his crush on Margo. Literally, he's had a crush on her for years.

All in all, though, they have no contact despite living next door to each other and being in the same grade until one night when Quentin finds Margo climbing through his window. She's arrived with an idea: come with me as I need to make certain things right, help me out, I need you. Being the guy who has nursed a crush on this girl through his entire school career, of course he says yes.

There begins a night of rule breaking and the development of a relationship between the two characters. Remember, while they are very physically close to each other via homes and school, they don't really know anything about one another. Through their antics that night: a drive to a store to pick up supplies, breaking into homes and pulling pranks, they go from barely knowing each other to knowing one another on a more intimate level.

The following morning Margo's gone. Apparently she's known for running away and her parents have all but thrown in the towel concerning her. She's an adult, if she wants to keep running away then so be it. But Quentin finds meaning in it all. Margo is known for leaving clues to her parents whenever she runs away and this time, the clues seem to be directed toward Quentin to figure out. So off he goes on a wild goose-chase to find Margo and his friends tag along with him.

That's it, that's the idea of the story. Boy with crush on girl drops everything to find her. While I enjoyed how clever the tips Margo left were, and the thought she put behind her pranks, I found her to be an obnoxious, self absorbed character. She had the nerve to be upset with her parents when they didn't figure out her clues and find her? Are you kidding? I would have utmost disdain for her if she was a real-life person. She sounds horrible but Quentin in his glory and love for her doesn't see how horrible of a person she is. His friends (and a former friend of hers), however, tend to come around to this fact before he does.

And the relationship that they built while doing their night-time pranks? Looking back at the book I wonder, since it is written from Quentin's point of view, if that relationship and mutual "understanding" wasn't actually there because Quentin built it up in his head. He's a guy with a crush looking for greater meaning in things that have no meaning at all.

By the end of the book, I was glad it was done. John Green's writing is great and I think he handles the life of teens really well. He gives us a story that has beautiful wording and doesn't treat teenagers like a bunch of idiots who can't think for themselves. But he seems to have a tendency to write about very self-absorbed females (at least between this and Looking for Alaska) and boys who are obsessed/crushing on those girls. Margo was just such an unlikable character to me, I was glad to see her go.

I'm still interested in the movie, I'll admit that. There's such a huge following of Green's books and so many people who are in love with this book that I wonder if there's something I'm missing and if the book will manage to paint Margo in a different life. Who knows though, I suppose we'll see. But really, if you don't want to be constantly annoyed by Quentin's crush or Margo's selfishness, then stay away from this book. I wouldn't even call this a brainless read because I spent so much time being annoyed by the two main characters. I did enjoy that the entire group of teens ended up in my old stomping grounds in New York and the detail of the rural area was accurate but that wasn't enough to save this book for me.

Last Week's Review: Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Next Week's Review: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment!