Thursday, October 30, 2008

Paper Towns

WARNING: THIS POST WILL HAVE SPOILERS!
BEWARE!


Last night, I read John Green's Paper Towns all in one sitting. I am a huge fan of Green's books and had no doubt I'd love this new one. And I did. I don't really have much to say right now about this (still processing, and wanting to reread parts that I raced through because I am not a patient person), but wanted to start a discussion. I love Green's writing. It is always an excellent mix of truly funny and really poignant. And his characters really stand out to me and stick with me. They feel so unique (though, among his own books, they are becoming sort of stock characters, but I am happy to overlook that) and I love how witty, nerdy, and cerebral they are. I admit to getting frustrated at times with the clues and all the dead ends. And, I'm not sure what to think about Margo saying she didn't intend for Q to actually find her, that she only left the clue in his door jamb to lead him to the abandoned strip mall so he could use it as a place to escape to like she did. And, man, why was she such a total bitch when her friends found her? That was jarring to me. But maybe that's the point--just like Q really didn't know the real Margo (whoever that is), the reader can't really, either, so why should any behavior feel out of character? Anyway. I'm curious to know what everyone else thought. I think I'm biased to begin with, because I love Green's other books and watched every single second of the Brotherhood 2.0 project. I know this is the first book by Green that some here have read, so I'm looking forward to hearing reactions from different viewpoints. I'll probably have something more to say after I reread/think further on the book.

Also, p.s, I SO loved Radar! At first I kept thinking, well, he's no Hassan (Katherines), but came to adore him in his own right, as yet another quirky, hilarious sidekick.

(And finally, I read reviews today of Paper Towns, having avoided them until I got to read the book myself, and keep seeing it compared to a book called As Simple As Snow by Gregory Galloway. Has anyone read that one?)

12 comments:

JLQ said...

Amanda, I completely agree with you about Margo--the way she acted was totally jarring. And I also agree about the feeling of Green "stock characters," but that's not too much of a problem with me either :). I don't think this is my favorite of his three books, but I definitely enjoyed it. I've been imagining what will happen in the future between Margo and Q--my gut tells me nothing but I'm hoping she'll keep in touch with him.

kristin said...

I haven't read any JG but this one... nonetheless, I think I understand the "stock characters" thing, because even as my first JG read they felt a little like stock characters. It was definitely a "MC and his trusty sidekicks, at least one of whom isn't white" book. (If that's sort of what you meant!) I liked the book a lot, and I loved the section titles and how they worked into the book, I loved the idea of the cracks that let the light in, etc. But there were some jarring things for me, as well -- including Margo. I never really warmed to her/ got her. I was glad, at least, that she turned into a realer person, because Q's unrealistic idea of what she was was even more annoying to me than what she actually was :o). I think I went into the book feeling a little annoyed by it, ended it loving it madly, and then got a little distance and began to feel ambivalent.

I'll say this: The road trip was HYSTERICAL.

If I read one other JG, which should it be?

JLQ said...

Kristin, my favorite is his first one (Looking for Alaska) but I'd definitely suggest An Abundance of Katherines if you were only going to read one.

Amanda said...

i loved both alaska and katherines much more than this new one, so i don't think you can go wrong with either. alaska veers more to the serious side (though is still witty and hilarious)and katherines gave me a lot of laughing out loud moments.

Dawn said...

i cannot wait to way in on this - life has been getting in the way of me finishing the book but as soon as i do i'm coming here. misfits 4-ever!

Dawn said...

i meant 'weigh'. oy.

kristin said...

misfits 4-ever is right! :o)

Amanda said...

i'm loving misfits 4-ever! i'm still hoping to read the napoli book we mentioned reading, too.

JoBiv said...

Is it too late to misfit-in? (Teehee.) Thanks, Amanda, for sharing this club with me!

John Green and I have a private romance, by the way. In my head. And insofar as he can do no wrong, I loved loved loved this book. But then I got to thinking a bit about what I love about his writing. He'll have his character thinking all kinds of intricate, intelligent, self-analytical thoughts but only able to mutter, "Uh huh," around his hormones. That rings true to me.

So I guess the Margo/Q encounter was jarring to me because it was too eloquent once they got cookin'. I mean, both characters had a lot of time to think, of course, but the dialog rang as a tad self-indulgent on the author's part. It sounded like conversations I script in my head after the fact - the "I shoulda saids" of life. And the idea that Margo had a crush on him all along...? I'd like to write a book about my not-so-prom-date of yore where it turns out like that, but I'd call it therapy and keep it in a veeery safe place where nunnayall could read it.

Am I just cynical, here? Do correct me.

Gotta love that this book made me laugh out loud on the train. Embarrassing, but worth it.

Amanda said...

yay! hi, jo! i hope to see more of you on this blog:) i totally agree that the conversations always sound like the stuff you come up with after--the really well said, smart stuff you wish you could come up with on the spot. but that's what i love about john green's characters (and that's what i always liked about shows like dawson's creek or my so-called life). sometimes, that uber-smart dialog bothers me, but never when it's written by john green!

Dawn said...

I don't have a problem with the way-too-clever-to-be-real dialogue, either, but I can see how it can take you away from the story at times. That said, Margo bugged the pee out of me - I found her incredibly pretentious. I'm wondering if she was meant to be frustrating to the reader, or if we were supposed to be as enamored of her as Q was... could Green have added that extra layer of mirror aspect, as in, we were meant to see how blind Q was to the real Margo? I like to think so.

The road trip was absolute gold, and I really appreciated the inclusion of Lacey because, while she annoyed as well, she had more dimensions than the typical mean girl. That she blew off her graduation to go off with those guys worked in her favor as a character, for me anyway.

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