Christmas Break! It’s that time of the year when books are to be returned to libraries in replacement of the to-be-busy festive of the upcoming holiday. As I was about to leave our university’s library, a student assistant, who coincidentally had to be my previous PE classmate, mentioned a far-fetched privilege I just had to have that day. Students have this chance to borrow up to three books for a due that was weeks after. Still stunned by the crazy, spontaneous and about-to-be-abused idea, I really did not have the time to scan around the library so I decided to push against fate to whatever it was on the counter. Lucky enough, I found myself reading the title of this black book that was on top of the “return” pile that day. Though this was not the first of what I have read of John Green’s, this was the sure first that felt close to my senses.
Looking For Alaska is not the first of its kind – I’m sure of that. But the “novel” kind of approach really did have its impact on what it sets to portray on a very heartfelt manner. Basing on the title, I sure did had a hunch on how the story will go, but again setting it on a creative and incredibly ingenious type of approach managed its way to my interest on a simple yet reflective way. The title did not really reveal much of what it really is, but I guess that made its mystery a tad more compelling.
Not wanting to be a spoiler, but I just really want to share my deep appreciation for how John Green has managed to bring life – but not too fictitious – to the characters. It did unveil how teenagers would behave and how, given the complexity of this life, can bring them all together in an instant. I mean, how a, should I say, a “nobody” like Pudge Halters had manage to be with such an adventurous crew like that of the Colonel’s. But that’s just the simplest of it all.
The other thing I truly admire is the way that the author had managed to visualize and bring life to a character like that of Alaska Young’s. She’s smart, but yet she had her shortcomings too. She’s tough but what others does not seem to be aware about is that she just seems tough, but she could be a fur ball too deep down. And that’s the truth about life. People may act as the toughest, but then again it’s just that sometimes, there are just excuses – plausible ones – that make them act like they just not give a damn at all. Another thing that made me love Alaska Young’s character is that she most definitely broke that thin line between being a good-ass and a bad-ass for a teenager. I mean, that was a sure hit for me. A girl can be both smart and crazy and that does not (and will never) mean it’s just one out of the other.
To stop myself from further spoiling tendencies, I have gathered enough guts to give personal responses on “some intentionally vague and discussion questions” from Looking For Alaska:
Q: Is forgiveness universal? Is forgiveness readily available to all people, no matter the circumstances? Is it possible for the dead to forgive the living, and for the living to forgive the dead?
Yes. I’d have to agree that forgiveness is both universal and is readily available to all people. But I guess that it’s a case-to-case basis that would depend on some unrelated factors pre-, peri-, and post- the “forgiving” period. I agreed that forgiveness is universal because I support and believe that humans are naturally born with an innate likeness to be good and that goodness exhausts even with dark “forces” around us. But humans, as I believe, are also naturally skeptic, lessening the odds of accepting apologies from people who might or might not seek it.
For the possibility of the dead forgiving the living and the living forgiving the dead, I say it would be a yes too. Based on experience, though I cannot say that I have fully grasped the “true” –whether it’s existing or not – meaning of forgiveness, but what I can share with you is that time does help a lot with this. It helps us people lessen the hatred and seize more enlightenment, and it helps us divert our senses to other worth-while tricks that the world can offer.
Q: I would argue that both in fiction and in real life, teenage smoking is a symbolic action. What do you think it’s intended to symbolize, and what does it actually end up symbolizing? Why would anyone ever pay money in exchange for the opportunity to acquire lung cancer and/or emphysema?
I think teenage smoking symbolizes rebellion. Most of the time, I think teenagers who smoke or who are interested in smoking have this view that the world will respect and consider them as adults if they do what the adults are doing too. Maybe it brings them confidence, not just with how the world would see them if they are considered “smoking” but maybe just mere confidence that they can do whatever it is to do just because they can lit one up. And to answer the last question, I just think they ignore it. You know, to make them look like someone who doesn’t give a shiz. Besides, a vice is still a vice no matter how expensive or deadly it is. When someone is indulged in the thinking that their “habit” is something that they cannot live without, it’s just them and their world. No matter how hard people try to get them out of their sinkhole, it’s just them and their “habit.”
So, top this post a cherry of unsolicited advice, Looking For Alaska is a book to recommend. Its twists has its creative way of putting the reader on the edge of their seats, though this book didn’t use profound euphemisms or whatsoever glittery-pompoms, its turn of events are something to watch or read for. Most certainly an 8 out of ten.