Friday, June 20, 2014

John Green!! Musings, reviews, and life lessons

With all the hype around John Green lately, I thought it would be fitting to grace the internet with my thoughts on this brilliant author. However, since everyone and their mother has already seen, read, or at least heard about The Fault in our Stars, I decided to review some of his other, lesser known but no less wonderful books.

John Green has been a favorite author of mine for years[pushes up Hipster glasses]. I first discovered him with TFIOS years ago, right when it came out, and from there went on to read 3 other books written by him: Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, and Abundance of Katherines.

What I have learned about the brilliant John Green is that each book has the power to make you laugh and cry equally. He has this wonderful way of writing that makes you truly connect with his characters, and the result is a hilarious but thought-inducing novel that leaves you with life lessons to ponder and a new perspective.

So, without further ado: Paper Towns!!

This book was actually my least favorite of John Green's for the sole purpose of it being comprised 95% of slow-moving, grasping-at-straws mystery/confusion/teenage boy obsession. BUT the 2.5% in the beginning and 2.5% of the end were amazing and very interesting.

BEFORE YOU EAT ME ALIVE IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS STILL A WONDERFUL BOOK. It actually has my favorite life-lesson of all his books, which is the simple truth that not every body is what they seem.

As humans, we go through life judging people on their looks, how they present themselves to the world, their sense of humor, etc. But what we forget is that everyone has more to them than what meets the eye.

"Just remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn't always the way they actually are." Paper Towns

You never truly see every side of one person, and I think it is so important to remember that. No matter how long you spend with someone, no matter how close you are to that person, it is impossible to truly know them inside and out. So how could anyone possible expect to know who a stranger is? Judgments are almost never right, so give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

Looking for Alaska:

No, this book is not about searching for the great wilderness of Alaska. If that's what your looking for, go read Into the Wild.

 Looking for Alaska is set in a boarding school in Alabama, and it is about a boy who loves last words, and falls in love with a girl named Alaska. This was one of my favorite books to read, and it also comes with a thought-inducing message about loss.

Everyone will lose loved ones at some point in their life, whether a result of death, or just simply losing touch and drifting away. But this book reminds one that people enter- and exit- your life for a reason. But in the wise words of a boy called Pudge, people never really leave, because the sum of their parts cannot begin and cannot end. The memories that you have of them allow them to live on, because matter cannot be created or destroyed. Some of them resides in you, so they will never truly disappear.

Keep in mind I was paraphrasing. John Green writes with much more elegance and absolutely no cliché. (Unlike me, oops)

Finally, Abundance of Katherines:

To tell you the truth, this book has the least moral value, in my opinion. However, it is a very quick, light-hearted read that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It's about a child prodigy that just graduated from high school. This book really struck a chord in me, because I started reading it days after I myself graduated from high school, and was feeling many of the things Colin was experiencing.

As a child prodigy, Colin was very smart. However, he felt like he was wasted potential, because he had never really done anything significant or new in his life. All he could do was learn the genius of previous...geniuses. He hadn't done anything to leave his mark on the world, to be remembered. I think everyone goes through this at some point in their lives, the fear of being forgotten. Of living a pointless, shallow existence.

So, Colin goes on a road trip. He gets a job, makes a new friend (his 2nd ever) and slowly realizes that he is enough. He doesn't need to try so hard to be known and remembered, because he has great friends and family members in his life who will love and remember him anyway.

So in summary, John Green is a genius. His writing is beautiful, collected, thought provoking, and sincere. His characters are multi-dimensional and truthful. They feel real. Their reactions are not forced, fake, or unrealistic. They are beautiful, and each of these books will be well worth the read. Enjoy!

xoxo, Ariel

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