“Thomas Edison's last words were 'It's very beautiful over there'. I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful.”
Can I just say I was never a big fan of contemporary fiction before I read John Green but he has lead me to reassess my reading habits and try more books outside of my comfort zone. Anyway on to the review.
Looking for Alaska tells the story of Miles Halter or 'pudge' as he becomes known. Miles is a friendless high-school student who loves learning famous historical peoples last words. He begs his parents to send him to a boarding school in Alabama were he sees it as his chance to start again and break out of his shell.
Miles goes to boarding school looking for his 'great perhaps', he wants a life of adventure and honestly I think he is trying to find something to live for and boy does he find it. Alaska Young is Miles idea of perfection from the moment he meets her, she is outgoing, reckless and doesn't care what anyone thinks, the type of person Miles wants to be. Looking for Alaska is spilt into two parts, the first counts down the days to a big event and the second counts the days afterwards. Miles was always looking for the 'Great Perhaps' but I don't think he ever thought it would turn out quite like this.
One of my favourite aspects of this book is how John Green deals with depression, I know some may not agree with me but I think Green shows how people dealing with depression are not as easy to spot as some may think, they don't mop around and lie in bed all day, some walk out the house with a smile on their face and you wouldn't ever know anything was wrong. Both Miles and Alaska show how depression can affect different people, Miles is an introvert, back home he had no friends and spent most of his time alone but he is determined to overcome this and forces himself to be someone new whereas Alaska is an extrovert, she masks her vulnerability by being loud and exuberant until its too late and before anyone can help.
Once again Green shows how he is a master with his words and his characters, even though I'm a little older than they are I found myself being able to relate to them and for those few short hours I was able to become Miles and see the world from his eyes, a scared teenager just trying to find himself. Green always has a way of creating relatable characters and once again I was able to see parts of myself in them, Alaska the care-free, book loving girl, who finds herself a little bit lost at times and Miles the shy, caring, sweet boy who is looking for something better, trying to find some meaning to his life.
Green's characters are flawed but they are honest and realistic, they deal with situations in a way any teenager might. Overall I thought that Miles found his 'Great Perhaps' he found it in his courage to move to boarding school, in his love (or infatuation) for Alaska and in dealing with the 'after'. At the end of this book Miles has questioned everything about himself but in the process of doing this he has managed to find himself and perhaps now he is ready for another adventure. I don't believe the 'Great Perhaps' is a destination rather a journey Miles takes to find himself.
Looking for Alaska is a story about finding yourself and loosing yourself, its about love and longing, pain and suffering and not being afraid of searching for your own 'Great Perhaps'.
My rating: 4.5