JOHN GREEN: LOOKING FOR ALASKA

 

Looking for Alaska is John Green’s first novel, published in 2005. It has won multiple awards ever since.

 

CHARACTERS:

We meet 3 main characters in the plot of the novel.

Miles Halter(Pudge) who has an unusual interest in learning people’s last words. He goes to Culver Creek boarding school to “seek a great perhaps”.

Alaska Young captures Miles’ attention and his heart. She is nice, wild and beautiful. She always helps her friends out.

Chip Martin (The Colonel) is Alaska’s best friend and Miles’ roommate. He is obsessed with loyalty.

SUMMARY OF THE NOVEL:

Miles Halter is tired of his predictable and friendless life, so he decides to attend the Culver Creek boarding school in Alabama for his junior year of high school. The story is split in two parts: before and after.

Before

Miles meets the Colonel, Takumi, and Alaska Young. The three take Miles (nicknamed Pudge because he’s so skinny) under their wing and introduce him to the social order of the campus, to smoking cigarettes, and drinking. They have to avoid the Eagle—the dean of the school. Miles’ favourite class is religious studies.

After Miles is hazed pretty hard by the Weekday Warriors (students who stay only during the week at the boarding school), his new friends help him return the favour. Miles meets Lara, and goes on a triple date with her, the Colonel and his girlfriend Sara, and Alaska and her college boyfriend Jake. The date doesn’t really mean anything because Miles is well on his way to falling in love with Alaska.

A couple of nights later the Colonel and Alaska are drinking to celebrate the epic prank, but Miles isn’t. Alaska and Miles make out a little, but then Alaska gets a phone call from her boyfriend Jake because it’s their eight-month anniversary. Then she freaks out and leaves campus in her car. Miles and the Colonel help her go.

After

All students are called to the gym the following morning for an announcement. The Eagle says that Alaska has died in a horrible car crash.

The Colonel and Miles are consumed with guilt. They try to unravel the mystery. In the midst of this, they ignore both Takumi and Lara.

Life marches on. Eventually Miles and the Colonel come to terms with their loss and grief and give up on the mystery of Alaska; then they throw themselves into their studies. In the final exam essay the question is how each student personally gets out of their own labyrinth of suffering. Miles, finally, has some answers for the question and writes about them in his final exam, writing about his own labyrinth of suffering about Alaska.

 

MY OPINION

I like the novel because I think it shows how quickly things change and how moments from the past define you; your personality and believes. It makes you think about making important decisions which have a big impact on your life.

QUOTES

As I was reading the book, there were some sentences that particularly stayed in my mind and I was thinking about them for  a couple of days after I have already read the book.

»You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be. Imagining the future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.«

»If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless.«

»AT SOME POINT YOU JUST PULL OFF THE BAND-AID, AND IT HURTS, BUT THEN IT’S OVER AND YOU’RE RELIEVED.«

I hope I inspired you to read the novel, if you haven’t done so already. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Karin Rajh