Sunday, 3 January 2010

Book #1: Looking for Alaska

It is sixty-six and a half hours into 2010 and I have already finished the first book of my 2010 challenge. You’d think as an English graduate I’d find the reviewing part of it easy. But, actually it’s quite difficult to take a step back—not to give a Freudian/Marxist/feminist account of the story, not write an essay—and write plainly what I thought. Discuss.

Did you see what I did there? I turned it into an essay question. That’s the way we roll here, kids. Anyway, back to the book. It was Looking for Alaska by John Green. Well, I liked the characters because (1) I could relate to them. Miles, the protagonist was a geek: I’m a geek; (2) they all had their flaws. Miles was irritating: I’m irritating; and (3) I can’t think of a 3 right now, but 1 and 2 were good. I didn’t like them because, sometimes, they were too irritating. But that’s okay, because if the characters could admit when they didn’t like each other, so can I.

One impression I was left with though was that for a book so obsessed with last words it ended on a rather bum note. It was more of a dot dot dot, than anything else. And not one of those good dot dot dots, that leaves you thinking, “What? How can you do that, you crumby author? How could you leave us with so many unanswered questions?” Those are the good type of dot dot dot endings. No, this was like one of those conversations that you have where everyone talking gradually looses interest and you end in an awkward silence. And then you feel you have to clear your throat, or say, "Sooo..."

However, I loved the philosophical feel to the book. I loved the aforementioned last words that filled the narrative like dead on a battle field. I loved that it was a book written by a nerd, about a nerd and, probably, for nerds. One character learnt all the capitals of the countries in the world. I mean, my brother did that. It is one of those books that you could unashamedly talk in terms of feminism, Freud, Marxism, and all that jazz, because it seeped with references to different schools of thought, especially feminism. However I won’t do that, because that’s dull.

So it was a nice, familiar (read: predictable), and laid back start to my 2010 book marathon. I would say: read it, it won't kill you.


  1. I just finished the book thief. Have you read it?

  2. I finished Looking for Alaska. I agree with your comments, although I found the ending more satisfactory as regards loose ends, but less satisfactory insofar as the philosophy aspect goes. I've also finished The Great Gatsby, and am now also reading a Graham Greene book...