Book number 31: Looking for Alaska by J. Green. Thank you, Babe. Honestly, I try not to think about how much you’ve been spending on books lately – and you don’t even read them! 😆
What it is: This boy Miles Halter is seeking a Great Perhaps and decides it is somewhere in his new boarding school at Culver Creek, something grander than his non-life in Florida, and he finds it in the part emotional time-bomb, part crazy, sullen bitch, Alaska Young. At first, I thought Looking for Alaska is one of those coming of age stories in the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower with all the pranks and changes that Miles experiences but I’m so stoked to tell you it is way more than that.
Looking for Alaska is basically a young adult book but I believe the insight it shares on friendship, loyalty, acceptance, life, loss, death, and suffering – mostly suffering – will be appreciated by everyone. “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth” not of life or death but of suffering is the question that the book throws its readers as well as a message of hope, forgiveness, and courage. A great deal of the book also talks about the invincibility of being young, of the importance of being in the present, and of seizing the day because you never know when you go “POOF” and gone.
What I liked about it: I swear I’m flipping over this book – I loved it so! Looking for Alaska is one of those books philosophical as shit but in a witty, funny, and highly entertaining manner; the dialogues are killer! Also, the narration is quick, light, and very impacting. My heart swelled and bled as the story wore on. It was like being transported and Looking for Alaska swallowed me entirely. It is insightful, honest, and emotional without having to resort to the emotional crap usually found in most books. I enjoyed this one so much the way I jumped up and down for The Descendants and Up Jumps the Devil. It is always great when you can read something profound in a breezy manner.
The characters were believable and I loved it how the smart ones prove to be the rebels. This is quite common these days, isn’t it? In the past, society is the well mannered, intelligent, and sensible bit and the rebels are just full of shit but at present, it is totally reversed – the rebels make more sense, as in way more and it makes me so proud. 😀
My favorite character is The Colonel, Miles’ roommate, because he raises hell and aces all his classes at the same time. Should I mention he reads the almanac and memorizes countries, capitals, and populations, apart from being a special math genius? God, I’d like to date him, despite of his deep love for cigarettes and alcohol (concocts ambrosia from four parts milk and one part vodka to sneak alcohol in the dorm as he please).
I also enjoyed the Old Man, their religious studies teacher though sometimes he can be preachy. But I adored every single philosophy he taught in class, particularly the Buddhist ones. I never thought I had a lot of Buddhist views up until I saw glimpses of it from Looking for Alaska, and you bet I will ask our Thai friend, who happens to be my cousin’s fiance now, for some Buddhist books so I can dig deeper.
What I did not like about it: Spoiler alert – I hated the way the gang blamed themselves for Alaska’s death. But they were juvenile so maybe that is the excuse of Looking for Alaska but still, when someone dies, there is nothing anyone can do. I did not like all the secrets and lying leading up to it too, and the enigma that Alaska tries to wrap herself in was almost annoying, but I guess that is part of the brilliance of the character, getting me frustrated for not understanding it completely.
Recommended for: Young adults, people trying to look for meaning, and anyone interested in a great read. (I also have an e-book copy but it is in Kindle format and I don’t know how to convert it but if you still want it, buzz me and I will send you Looking for Alaska and you will be charmed equally.)