Monday, August 3, 2015

Paper Towns

Author: John Green
Publisher: Speak
Year Published: 2008
Pages: 305

Quentin Jacobsen--or Q--had been obsessed with his popular classmate and neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, since his childhood. The beautiful and unique Margo. But just like the other unpopular students, Quentin couldn't reach Margo so that he just liked to look at her from his bedroom window. One day, Margo appeared in Q's room, and asked Q to join her one night adventure. Together, they had to fulfill 11 missions, from breaking into their classmate's house to breaking into the Sea World. It was such an unforgettable night for Quentin so that he thought that starting that night, his relationship with Margo would change. But what came the next day surprised him.

That night, I lay on my side, staring out the window into the invisible world outside. I kept trying to fall asleep, but then my eyes would dart open, just to check. I couldn't help but hope that Margo Roth Spiegelman would return to my window and drag my tired ass through one more night I'd never forget. 

Margo had left her house. And it's not the first time. Her parents had lost their patient and decided not to care. However, Margo was already 18, which is considered as adult. They thought Margo was just looking for attention as usual, since on her last departure, she had left some clues--which her parents decided to ignore--and came back by herself after being ignored. But Quentin couldn't stay quiet. He really felt that this time, Margo was serious and maybe she had planned something horrible to herself.

Quentin then searched for the clues Margo had left. With the help of his two best friends, Ben and Radar, Quentin searched and analyzed Margo. What he found later, made him realize that maybe, the true Margo Roth Spiegelman was not like what he had imagined before.

Here's what's not beautiful about it: from here, you can't see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You can see how fake it all is. It's not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It's a paper town. I mean, look at it, Q: look at all those culs-de-sac, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I've lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.
So... honestly. I struggled a lot in finishing this book. I don't know. Before, I enjoyed reading John Green's An Abundance of Katherines (in fact, I loved it!) and The Fault in Our Stars was great also. But Paper Towns... There's nothing wrong with John Green's writing in this book, really. It still has his boy-ish voice and witty-smart kinda conversations. It's just that maybe since the beginning, I have failed to like Quentin and Margo and I didn't really want to know about Margo's MIA. That's why, I have to quit 2 times before finally been able to finish the whole book.

However, let's put aside my personal judgment and talk more about what this book offers. This book, based on my understanding, talks about the transition from teenagers to adult. Margo and Quentin and the rest of their friends, were seniors and they were heading to their high school graduation as the story started. So, it's kinda natural that Margo started to think more seriously about what kind of person she wanted to become in the future. She obviously hated her parents and the way they treated her was awful. On the other hand, her schoolmates were not genuine; for the sake of popularity, they faked everything including their friendship with Margo. Everything near her was made of paper. She needed to start fresh in a place only she knew.

One thing Margo didn't predict was Quentin and his action to look for her. Quentin actually also felt what Margo felt. But, just like the other nice, playing-safe teenagers, he only kept what he felt inside, didn't want to make his parents worry or sad. Margo's MIA made Quentin finally brave enough to take the opportunity and do anything unplanned, which turned out to also helped him to understand life and himself better.

As I've said before, Margo and Quentin didn't manage to stole my heart. But, Ben and Radar did. And also Lacey, Ben's girlfriend and Margo's former friend. Their presence made the books more enjoyable for me and--seriously--I think that every person needs friends like Ben and Radar in his/her life. I really enjoyed their interaction with Quentin or with each other. And Lacey.. I like how she really had this personality, not just another paper person as Margo had thought. She had flaws but that made her perfect just the way she was. 

This book maybe doesn't satisfy me, but you still can try to read it if you are looking for an adventurous, fun, and thoughtful young adult book.

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