The Twenty-Eighth: Alaska and the Great Perhaps

That could’ve been an alternate title for one of the best books I’ve read in my entire lifespan. Looking for Alaska is the third John Green book I’ve read, the first being The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns being second.

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

If you’ve read a JG boo, you will notice how he challenges most of our perceptions and makes us think more than we would have while reading any other normal teen fiction book. At 69,023 words, it is a smaller book when compared to other Teen Fiction novels currently ruling the bestseller charts.

The book deals with a lot of things that are taboo –smoking, sex, drunk driving and so on and so forth. John Green uses the exact same lingo that we as teens use – not making it pretentious and fake, like someone else might’ve done. We don’t speak with thousands of pleases and thankyous, and we aren’t as polite as the other writers make us out to be.

The book is a poignant, thought proving novel that compels you to challenge your views on several things.

Alaska Young is an enigma, the person Miles is most entranced by at Culver Creek.  Miles has come to a boarding school, away from his house and his parents in Florida, in search of his Great Perhaps – something he is sure he wouldn’t find back home.

Here he makes friends with some truly amazing people – Alaska, Chip ‘The Colonel’ Martin, Takumi and Lara. The misfit group got through life at Culver Creek with some difficulties, but none of which they can’t solve.  Everything changes when Young dies, leaving the group without their central figure.

The book explores death and religion and so many other tiny, tiny things that make you want to read more and more. Death is mostly spoken of with the company of afterlife and enlightenment, and all. But what if there is really nothing ahead? What do you do if your friend dies? Do you continue to live your life as though nothing happened? Or do you try and move on, by forgetting? Or is there an in-between somewhere?

These are a fraction of the questions the book raises; it answers many questions at the same time. As teenagers we are in that period of life where the choices we make or will make in the very near future will determine our life. Everything we choose will stick, whether we approve of it later or not.

And how do you deal with a death that’s shrouded in mystery? Was it suicide or an accident? Miles goes through a period of transformation; he becomes much more mature by the end of the book.  He finally forgives Alaska for forgetting him and her other friends, and he knows she will forgive him in time when he forgets her.

After all, everyone is going to be forgotten one day. Memories will become blank spaces, people will die, and we will all go into oblivion as though we never existed. JG very rightly says, teenagers are invincible, and we are. And it’s exactly what Miles says, ‘it’s because we can never be irreparably broken. Green rightly puts it, ‘the part greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

As I end this sort of review, I would like to tell you what my favorite last words were from the ones listed in the book:

 “I’m bored with it all.” – Winston Churchill

Oh, and a Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it.

And if you’ve not read any John Green books, I urge you to do so at the earliest. That man writes about teenagers better than teenagers could.

Until next time,

Nia.

Oh, and I really like the cover with the candle smoke – the one with the flower one is cute, but this one has so much depth. 

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