Book Club No. 1

I’ve started a book club with a friend of mine! We’re meeting once a month to try different books that maybe we wouldn’t have read otherwise and to challenge ourselves to try new things. We’ve set out our books for the next 6 months and we hope that our book club will expand.

99561Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Publisher: Speak

Publication Date: 2006

ISBN: 9780142402511

Looking for Alaska

 Synopsis from Goodreads:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.

It was unanimously agreed that we were disappointed with Looking for Alaska. I’ll give you our overall thoughts:

  • Who is the intended audience for this novel? It reads like a YA, but it deals with very heavy and very adult themes. We couldn’t decide on the age group.
  • We couldn’t understand the relationships in this book. None of the romantic relationships have any real basis. Couples seem to be together “just because.” Attraction isn’t based on intellect or personality, but physical attraction. Yes, so Alaska is hot, but what else? Everyone is in love with her, but why–beyond the fact that she has big breasts and supplies everyone with cigarettes?
  • The Colonel is the most interesting character. He has a genuine interest in learning, is mischievous, is a loyal friend, and has a close and respectful relationship with his mother. Having coming from a rough and impoverished background, he has a genuine reason to dislike the “Weekend Warriors,” aka the wealthy and entitled kids at the school, but he does respect those who respect him. He won’t rat them out. It’s mutual.
  • Green’s initial exploration of grief is unbelievably accurate. It’s the highest point of the novel because these few pages reveal the most honest and accurate portrayal of his characters. This is the only point when any of the characters seem real.

After reading and discussing Looking for Alaska, I cannot understand why this novel is so popular. It was okay, but that’s it. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. But reading John Green has reinforced my desire to avoid reading authors such as him, Jody Picoult, or Nicholas Sparks. They really just aren’t my thing.

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