Book Review: Papert Towns By John Green
I read this book right after a bit of disappointment from An Abundance of Katherines. Needless to say I wanted to expect another hard book to finish but as early as this blog goes, I’m definitely giving you the advice to read this.
I’m not going to stress this review out so much. What I am going to tell you is that this is a very, very good rebound from “Katherine”. This is probably one of the few books that literally made me laugh (yes, laugh as in laughing in a public place while everyone stares at you thinking something’s wrong with your head kind of laugh) hard specially during the book’s road trip scenes.
Let me have a little side opinion here of John Green’s writing style: all his books have cars, have road trips, funny but very helpful best friend/s, and a girl who is struggling to be stronger than how anyone thinks she is. I’ve read somewhere that once you meet one of John Green’s girls, you’ve met them all.
Switching back to my review, Paper Towns explores the difference between living your life and living just for the sake of living. The book describes a paper town to be a town built to be in ruins one day; a place where people pretend to be other people than themselves which makes them, and the very foundations of the town itself, hollow. One of the book’s protagonists describes the place and the people who live in paper towns as “not even hard enough to be made out of plastic“. The word paper seems to define a person or a place who simply copies, word for word as if written in a script, someone else’s way of life. A good example would be the following quote:
All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I’ve lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.
A shorter way of describing “paper people” would be those who play it safe in life, fearing that being an outlier, for even just a moment, would put their lives off track and make them end up in unfamiliar places which may force them to live inconvenient lives. This thought scares the general populace, the mere fact that everything is already laid out for them pushes them away from veering out into unknown places. This makes them stop dreaming, imagining, and living. The paved road is the easy way but it’s not the most gratifying nor the happiest at the very least. People become paper, two dimensional, living the way how others lived in the past: safe, steady, and simply boring.
The journey of this book involves not just finding the missing girl but also finding out about the inner self, the lost persona that being a paper person has hidden. A lot of revelations, a lot of insight, and a lot of self-inflicted emotional pain enables the reader to feel for the characters in the book; to sympathize with them in ways the readers never thought possible.
Finally, this book’s ending has the bitter-sweetness that we all love that is John Green’s trademark. I enjoyed reading this book. The ending was perfect in every way. I couldn’t have thought of it better myself.
Overall: 9/10. I’d give it a perfect 10 but I felt that John Green was a bit too optimistic about how the story progressed the way it did and the way popular people accept “losers” in society.
My Favorite quotes:
I stand in this parking lot, realizing that I’ve never been this far from home, and here is this girl I love and cannot follow. I hope this is the hero’s errand, because not following her is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I keep thinking she will get into the car, but she doesn’t, and she finally turns around to me and I see her soaked eyes. The physical space between us evaporates. We play the broken strings of our instruments one last time.