Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What Is Your Cause For Hope?

Miles, "Pudge, has a thing for famous last words. In fact, he's memorized hundreds of people's last words. He is searching for his "Great Perhaps", which he knows cannot be found at his lifeless high school. Pudge dives into Culver Creek Boarding School in search of change, adventure, and the chance of his great perhaps. In walks Alaska Young; strong female presence and mood swings for days. But there is something about Alaska that drives Pudge into a head first journey that is his Junior Year. With the help of his friends, The Colonel, Takumi, Lara, and of course the beautiful Alaska, Pudge may be closer to finding his adventure. Through pranks, over night camp outs, smoke breaks, and irresponsible drinking, Pudge's feelings for Alaska strengthen, but he seems at home in this new world. Suddenly, their world turns upside down when tragedy strikes. With this missing piece, is it possible for the great perhaps to happen? Or will Pudge and his roommate, The Colonel, crumble under their own guilt and emptiness?

Looking for Alaska by John Green was a novel most of my freshmen girls were reading and loved. So, of course, I needed to check this out. Alaska Young is a strong female who won't let any male tell her her place. She is out of control, a compulsive drinker and smoker, and her mood swings are hard to handle. Yet, she takes a hold on Pudge the minute he sees her. Her individuality sucks him into a whirlwind. Each adventure the crew takes, each idea Alaska suggests, and each moment they are together, Pudge can't seem to loosen his grip on her. But, Alaska is a complicated character. She's got baggage, and her ambiguous one liners are enough to show her buried pain beneath her hard exterior. Alaska is the nucleus that holds the group together, and once she is gone there is so much hurt, guilt, and loneliness.
Pudge and The Colonel are also complicated characters in themselves. Both are very bright, both share great qualities, but they both have different reasons for being drawn to Alaska. The Colonel has his poor background, and he feels he needs to prove he's worth a damn in a world where the rich rule. Meanwhile, Pudge is just searching for change, and of course, his great perhaps. It's difficult for the reader to really know if both of these characters seek answers for their own selfishness, or for Alaska. But you can tell both of these characters needed her; each for a different purpose.
Green's use of last words and "the labyrinth" were purposeful. Alaska mentions the labyrinth and how we can escape it, meanwhile the great perhaps is something that Pudge looks forward to. Could this labyrinth be the end? Or the beginning? Or could it be the great perhaps? Once tragedy strikes, each member of the posse find themselves lost in their own worlds, yet they have a common goal: Alaska.

This book is truly worth the hype. It's not a hard read where you have to pay attention to every single detail, but it does have a lot of themes circulating:  strength of characters, the idea that one person can truly be the driving force, and discovering how pain can be overcome when you have allies. I loved the characters, as they all had their own strong personality. You can see each one of them develop and change from the beginning, and it is all in part thanks to Alaska.
Although the mystery of Alaska's downfall was never officially uncovered, all they needed was a push to show them that the world may be a labyrinth, but each person has their own way out.

Great book, amazing writing, and every other page I have marked with great quotations. Definitely worth it. It goes quick, but it does hit hard.

~Thomas Edison's last words were: "It's beautiful over there." I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful. ~