Thursday, 24 April 2014
'Paper Towns' by John Green: A Book Review
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.
I'm sorry, but I can't wait until the end of the review to say this: I hated this book. No, hate is too small a word - I despised this book.
I wouldn't reread this book if you paid me. I would waste two hours watching Divergent again rather than spend ten minutes going through this book.
Look, I'm not the biggest fan of John Green, the writer. I thought The Fault in Our Stars was alright and An Abundance of Katherines was mediocre. But with Paper Towns (which, I've heard, is a slightly different version of Looking For Alaska), Green achieves new levels of pretentious, teenage-y, metaphorical dullness.
Paper Towns revolves around the quiet, nerdy Quentin, who is obsessed with a girl he was friends with about ten years ago. He hasn't spoken to her since, even though they're next-door neighbours and go to the same school. But he's desperately in love with her, because..... damn, I've finished the book and I still don't know what he sees in her!
Margo Roth Spiegelman. A troublesome daughter, a bully and a self-obsessed loner. She enjoys running away from home every now and then, leaving 'clues' so her parents can find her. Tired of living in a 'paper town' with 'paper people', Margo thinks she's superior to everyone else, simply because she doesn't care about education or college or the future.
She doesn't care about people, either. Shaving off other people's eyebrows when they're asleep, leaving dead fish in her classmate's wardrobe, taking nude pictures of an ex-boyfriend... that's her idea of a fun evening. Unfortunately, doing all these things by herself isn't very easy. So she decides to enlist the help of her neighbour Quentin, who immediately agrees to her plans because he 'loves' her.
But being the selfish, annoying daughter that she is, Margo runs away from home again. Now Quentin forces his friends (Ben and Radar) to help him find her. Oh, wait, his friends already have plans with their girlfriends? His friends are hosting a party? His friends have to graduate, so they can't drive a hundred miles away to find Margo? How selfish of them!
I don't understand why Ben and Radar are even friends with Quentin. Throughout the novel, all he does is think about Margo, and he expects his friends to do the same. When they don't - because they're normal - he calls them selfish and fights with them. Very mature, Q.
The characters in this novel are annoying. The jokes in this book are crass and perverted. There is no romance in the story. Why does Quentin have feelings for Margo, when he barely knows her? How do Ben and his girlfriend suddenly fall in love despite having nothing in common?
There are so many faults in this book that I couldn't enjoy one bit of it. Not the writing, not the characters, not the story. If this is what teenagers are like, then I'm ashamed to be one of them. Sorry, but I don't think running away from home right before your exams, or running away with your friends to find the so-called love of your life (right before your graduation) is 'cool'.
I'm going to go with 1 star out of 5 for Paper Towns.
John Green's story is as paper as it can get. So are his one-dimensional characters. And those metaphors - my goodness! Not everything in life has a bigger meaning, and not everything in the world is about Margo Roth Spiegelman. Let it go, John Green.
I can't understand why this book has a 4.10 rating on Goodreads or why it ever won all those awards. To me, this is the worst book I've read in a long time. I wouldn't recommend this novel to anyone.
If you've read Paper Towns, let me know if you agree with me. If you don't, then tell me what you liked about the book in the comments.
Happy reading, Geeks! :)
PS: My next blog post won't be for another week, as I'll be on vacation. But fear not! It's going to be very special... I'll be reviewing The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which releases in India on 1st May.
Can't wait. See you then! :)