Friday, December 17, 2010

Looking for Alaska

Half a Plot:
In the first half of the book, Pudge (not his real name, in case you couldn't figure that one out on your own) heads out to boarding school in Alabama. Up to this point, he has been the fairly friendless geek. He drifts between groups of friends, none of which actually count him as a real friend. Boarding school will be the time for him to make friends, have an adventure, and re-invent himself as someone that is not a loser. He plans to go out into the great unknown. Cool, dude.

On his first night at school, Pudge is kidnapped, mummified in duct tape, and thrown in the lake to drown. That's some pretty serious hazing. It turns out that Pudge is being punished for because the Weekday Warriors, local kids that only stay on campus during the week, believe that Pudge's roommate, the Colonel, had two people expelled at the end of last school year. As far as the Colonel knows, though, none of his friends played any role in the expulsion. None at all.

The Colonel introduces Pudge to Takumi, Alaska Young, and Lara. They all become buddy-buddy.

Pudge starts dating Lara, even though he's totes in love with Alaska. This leads to a super weird scene where Lara and Pudge go to Alaska for an explanation on how to give and receive a blow job. Really? Not that I know or anything, but I thought that giving the first BJ was a matter of instinct and trial and error.

The crew is known for epic prank-age. Their plan is to devise the most epic prank in human history in order to get back on the Weekday Warriors for mummifying Pudge the first night. When it comes to epic prank-age, it's better for you to read about that yourself than for me to tell you about it. Let's leave it at that.


What the hell, John Green?! Do NOT make me go bold and CAPSY on you! I am positively outraged by that shit you pulled in the middle of the book. No. Just no. And I can't even discuss it properly because of spoiler issues. 

As soon as I got to the second part of the book, I ran(ted) to tell the roommates. They both have the book on their shelves. I assumed that they would understand and sympathize with me. No. They both go, "Oh, I have the book. But I haven't read it yet." Really? What literary good are you to me then? Get on it. Now.

  • The book is divided into 'before' and 'after.' I like that. It's different than the typical plot map. It gives a more complete picture of the dynamics and what-not. I approve.
  • The dialog feels very real. Those conversations are real. They could be real. I don't know about the rest of you, but I really liked that it felt like I was reading a conversation between my friends. Only with more pranks and intrigue.
  • Alaska has a "Life Library." It's the hundreds of books she's rescued from garage sales and plans to read throughout her life. Me too, Alaska. Me too.
  • I hate that Pudge started a relationship with Lara even though he was very much in love with Alaska. I'm not impressed. Especially after you hauled Lara over to Alaska for a lesson in blowjobs. Classy.
  • I don't understand being completely obsessed with Alaska. I found a tumblr written by someone referring to herself as the "Young Alaska." Really? This girl had issues. This girl had some serious issues. What is there to romanticize about? Of all the characters out there, you pick Alaska Young?


  1. Well I haven't read this either so am of no use! You've made me want to read it though, so good work!

  2. I haven't read this, I might have to now. I did read John Green's An Abundance of Katherines. It sounds a bit similar-- it included classy behavior like sex in a cemetery, for example, and the main characters having obsessions with people not worthy of it. Also, for crying out loud, why did they go to Alaska for a BJ discussion? Hasn't Lara heard of Cosmo?

  3. I don't know where I've been the last few weeks, missing all your recent posts. Anywhoo... I just bought this on my kindle. I'll let you know my opinion tomorrow. :)

  4. Hi, Alison,

    I had a number of "really?" moments, too, reading the book. Miles missed the mark by a mile in his treatment of others...but I think he redeemed himself in the end. I think he's going to be a better person going forward.

    Agreed: Alaska was a mess.

    Just blogged on the book and whether Miles was a worthy nerd hero.


  5. I thought it was pretty shit honestly.

  6. I think Alaska was a complete mess of a person. And I think that because the story is told from the POV of Miles, we kinda start idolising and romanticising her because he does. If the book was written from the view point of the Colonel or even Alaska, I doubt that we'd find much to like - She'd be a completely different character.

    But because Miles loves her she's portrayed as perfect despite it all and so I think that it's really hard to say whether I like her completely or not. (Who am I kidding - I want to be as endearing as Miles' version of Alaska!)

    But I agree, the life library is something I DEFINITELY need to start doing! :)