I'd previously read a short story by John Green in the book Let it Snow (book review coming in December), and had thought at the time that that particular story wasn't too bad overall. When I picked up Looking for Alaska randomly from a library shelf, I thought, "Oh yeah, John Green, this should be okay." However, I was extremely disappointed with my findings. First of all, the sexual content is far too graphic for Green's target audience (which, he writes, is high schoolers). I skipped over the worst parts, hoping that the story would manage to redeem itself in the end, but it didn't do that either. The event that becomes the turning point of the story is the death of a main character, and afterwards her friends are left wondering 1.) whether it was an accident or suicide, 2.) the meaning of life and why things like this happen, and 3.) whether there's any point to living life at all. The book then attempts to answer the meaning-of-life questions with a jumbled and unsatisfactory mix of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, which results in an overall feeling of hopelessness and drudgery. This is one of the few books I've read that I truly felt was a complete waste of time.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Book Review: Looking for Alaska
The only good thing I observed about this book was its format, which was unusually clever. Author John Green utilizes a unique "before-the-event/the event/after-the event" structure to tell the story of a group of teens, who they were before a life-changing event, and who they became afterwards. Unfortunately, the story is peppered with graphic sexual content, pornography, lewd references to both genders, smoking, drinking, cursing, and little to no consequences for poor actions made by the characters.