My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"It's not life or death, the labyrinth. Suffering. Doing wrong and having wrong things happen to you. That's the problem. Bolivar was talking about the pain, not about the living or dying. How do you get out of the labyrinth of suffering?”
I downloaded Looking for Alaska on my Kindle based on reading John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, and on recommendations from Jo Knowles and Laurie Halse Anderson.
This book is raw, emotional and at times extremely dark. However, it is realistic, well orchestrated and brilliantly written. As an adult, I read this book with all my experience and knowledge that I made it out of adolescences. However, it painted a true picture of what being an adolescent with huge emotional baggage, the loneliness, and the fearlessness feels like. “It always shocked me when I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things.” This a true picture of how most of us feel at one time or another as a teen. Growing up is hard, it is not easy. Life is hard and can be extremely overwhelming. While some adults who read it may be shocked by the language, sex, alcohol, and raw emotionality of these teens, it paints an accurate portrayal.
Miles "Pudge" is a friendless kid who decides to enroll in the boarding school in Birmingham Alabama that his father attended. It is at this juncture of his 17th year; he meets his first real friends, falls in love, and tries to have a girlfriend. He also discovers adventure, independence and real friendship.
Miles “Pudge” meets "Colonel" his short and brilliant roommate whose home is in a tiny trailer park, "Takumi", Lara, and of course the mysterious, dark and love interest, Alaska. "Sometimes I don't get you,' I said. She didn't even glance at me. She just smiled toward the television and said, 'You never get me. That's the whole point.” It is these five who spend the year learning about each other over the tragedy they experience. As you can read the back of the book, you do not need me to summarize the story in my review. However if you still need convincing, “Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. (...) You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
As in all John Green books, it is dark and emotional, but it is extraordinarily well written. He explores the depth of human interactions and pain in a way that both explains and explores teen experiences. We are all going, I thought, and it applies to turtles and turtlenecks, Alaska the girl and Alaska the place, because nothing can last, not even the earth itself. The Buddha said that suffering was caused by desire, we'd learned, and that the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. When you stopped wishing things wouldn't fall apart, you'd stop suffering when they did.”
Read it you will be better for it!
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