Are you ready?
Be warned: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS.
I'm sorry, but that's how it has to be. I must completely express everything I feel about this book. There are an awful lot of feels. If you have read the book, you know exactly what I mean and will forgive me. If you have not read it, read it and forgive me.
If I had to choose one song and one song onnly that reminded me of Looking for Alaska, I have to choose Skinny Love by Bon Iver. Why you ask? Why? Because I heard it today (yesterday) and I just thought: holy shit this reminds me of Looking for Alaska. So there you have it.
In particular, it's the last few verses that convinced me:
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
And now all your love is wasted
And then who the hell was I?
And I'm breaking at the britches
And at the end of all your lines
Who will love you?
Who will fight?
Who will fall far behind?
Here's the thing. For the longest time, all I ever knew about John Green was Paper Towns. I read it at the request of a friend. Liked it enough to get my own copy. Added Looking for Alaska to my TBR shelf on Goodreads. A while back I took it off because I think I confused Looking for Alaska for another book. One that may have actually involved the pace Alaska. Because when I read the summary again for it at Target a few months back I was like: I have to read this. So I bought it on a whim. And shortly after I got TFiOS, but that's a different story.
The point is that Paper Towns is a story about a mysterious girl who may or may not be a bitch. And Looking for Alaska is about a girl who is also mysterious, and more than likely a bitch. The main difference between the two, in my opinion, will always be the fact that Margo just disappeared. And Alaska straight out died.
There are more differences, of course. Margo was Q's childhood friend. Alaska was the exciting girl at Pudge's new school. Very different circumstances. In both cases, though, the guy is in love (or thinks he's in love) with an incredibly arcane girl (see: mysterious bitch).
So here I'm going on and on about Alaska. What's this about the Great Perhaps?
Well, Pudge has a thing for Famous Last Words. Yeah, crazy stuff. Interesting, I have to admit. A bit unique. Definitely makes me wonder.
The exact quote is by François Rabelais whose Famous Last Words were "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." Which leads me to believe that he's talking about, well, death. Go figure. But I guess the funny part about this quote is that Pudge actually uses it as his rationale for attending the boarding school his father did.
“Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”
Not sure how intentional that was. From reading some in-depth Q&As, John Green always meant for it to be about death and how it changed people. But to start it off like that? With a boy obsessed with Famous Last Words? The Great Perhaps? DEATH?
Okay, I'm digressing.
Alaska's death tore me apart. The search for answers tore me apart. That ending, with Pudge's essay. Tore. Me. Apart.
“Thomas Edison's last words were 'It's very beautiful over there'. I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful.”
To sum it all up, I'd have to say I enjoyed Looking for Alaska. The philosophical/theological stuff has always been interesting to me. And I loved the issues John Green addressed. I loved the way he addressed them. My teenage years are certainly nothing like it, but there are a lot of universal themes. So it's all okay. I can't exactly describe the anguish and grief I went through. The way I was sobbing as I read the last few pages. But it is what it is.