Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

ISBN: 9780142414934
Source: Purchased
Series: No, stand-alone
Release Date: October 16, 2008

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.
After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

John Green has quickly risen to "god" status in the literary world. After reading (and not being totally convinced by TFiOS, I decided to read another fan favorite to give John Green the benefit of the doubt. I mean, he's a literary "god" for a reason, right?. In comes Paper Towns. And even though I somehow managed to read this book in two days, it wasn't because I loved it. Actually, it was a rather "meh" read for me. I mean, I enjoyed it well enough. Not really. I don't know. I have such mixed feelings about it but what it really comes down to is that I just didn't love it.

While I like for my books to have some deeper meaning, I don't want to read books to have to decipher what the hidden meaning is. I don't like cliches and epiphanies littered throughout the whole story. I think I complained of the same thing with TFiOS, and my conclusion on that one was that I would rather find what it means to me, myself, rather than the character flat out tell me what I'm meant to glean from the book. Once again, it was supposed to be "profoundly moving," but I... didn't feel particularly moved. I actually kind of couldn't stand this Margo Roth Spiegelman. Or the poor schmuck who was obsessed with her. Was that the point? Was I supposed to hate Margo and pity Quentin?

See! I don't even know what the point of the book is! I was bored by the middle of the book when I realized that all of this wasn't really building up to much. I was quite underwhelmed, especially when I got to the end and it really didn't build up to much. Don't get me wrong, the messages this book was practically killing itself to convey were profound... I guess. Maybe that isn't the right word. They were life lessons that definitely needed to be thought about and realized by many people but it was just too much. I do plenty of soul searching and striving toward self-actualization on my own, and this book just seemed like a crap ton of metaphors that formed into a pointless story about a really annoying girl and a rather obsessive boy.

Maybe I'm just not a deep person. Probably I'm too shallow to TRULY appreciate this book. Maybe John Green isn't for me? There may be a million reasons for why I didn't like this book and I'm convinced that it's me, because obviously the whole rest of the world sees something that I don't.

It was enjoyable and made me think but I didn't love it. For the sake of not being a total downer, I really did enjoy the dynamic between Quentin and his friends. They cracked me up and kept the story going for me.


Overall, this book just wasn't for me. It wasn't bad by any means, but I found myself wondering what the heck the point of the whole story was? And I've also come to the conclusion that I'm shallow and dense and that is why I am unable to appreciate John Green the way the rest of the world seems to.

Side note - I'm pretty sure I saw a young girl, like 11 or 12, with this book in her hand while walking around the mall with her dad the other day, by the way. I mean, it's not a particularly vulgar book but it's a little on the mature side, so I was shocked to see her holding it. But I totally forgot about the possible impropriety of the situation and suddenly felt like a dunce because even a child can appreciate John Green enough to carry the damn book through the mall with her, and I can't seem to even figure out the point of the book. Frankly, I have basically given up on Green at this point. Please don't stone me.

Well anyway, have any of you read this book? What did you think about it? Are you finding a John-Green-pattern like I did - lots of metaphors and "profoundness" that is just about lost upon you? Or am I totally missing something here and you absolutely loved it? I'd really like to hear what you thought about this one. And if you haven't read it, but have read other books by John Green, I'd really love your input.

Let's talk!


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