Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Keeping on the John Green kick, I opted to read Looking for Alaska next. My friend was right, I should have started here first. While there were bits in the middle I didn’t really enjoy, overall, it was a pretty great book.
The story is of Miles Halter who is the outcast in his school in Alabama. In an attempt to start over, he requests to attend boarding school in search of a “Great Perhaps”. What he finds is a what he didn’t have back home – a crew of friends: The Colonel, Takumi and the enchanting Alaska.
Alaska is “the girl” every guy wishes he had around. She is cute and smart, serious and funny all at the same time. She teaches “Pudge” (as Miles is nicknamed) about life. It’s a no brainer than Pudge would fall in love with her. Only, tragedy strikes Alaska and the second half of the book has the guys trying to make sense of everything, questioning whether they ever really knew Alaska at all.
The book has been compared, frequently, to Catcher in the Rye. While I loved the Salinger book when I read it in high school, I tried to reread it last year and really REALLY wanted to punch Holden Caufield. The difference here is that Pudge never irritates me like that as he’s a pretty likeable kid. I could relate to Pudge in that I was never the popular kid either and was in search of my own Great Perhaps.
Heartbreaking and poignant, it’s easy to see why many teachers have added it to their curriculum. Pudge embodies every kid who never really fit in and wanted something more than he already had.