Monday, February 24, 2014

Looking for Alaska

looking for alaska

By:  John Green
Published:  2005

Another book that I have never read or even heard of.  I am not so up on the young adult novels if you haven't noticed.  Being a Kindergarten teacher I usually stick to picture books but I was excited to expand my horizons.  I read this book a few weeks ago and I have been trying to decide what I was going to say about it I am still not sure of exactly what I think but ... here goes..

This is a story about a young boy, Miles Halter,  who led would could only be considered a boring life.  He was not very interesting by any means and seemed to have no friends at his high school.  He also loved reading people's last words from their biographies.  He decided he wanted to go to boarding school in Alabama, the same one his father went too.  He went in search of "THE GREAT PERHAPS."  When arriving he receives a roommate and the story kicks into high gear.  He also meets Alaska, a beautiful, daring girl that likes adventure.  He immediately makes great friends with his roommate, Chip, Alaska, and their group of friends.  The story takes us through their adventures, many of which include drinking, doing pranks, and smoking.   They continue on until moody Alaska has what can be considered a small drunken breakdown and goes off.  A terrible tragedy happens and the book shifts to after the event.  Miles and Chip are devastated and search to find out what happened.  Living through their guilt and continuing school until they finally find out why Alaska freaked out and in the end play a prank of all pranks on the school in her honor.  

The story itself goes by fast and Green makes you want to continue reading.  The plot itself has a good twist and the minute you start reading you know somehting is going to happen but you have no idea what.  Green also does a great job of hitting on some hard to discuss topics with his character Alaska.  She is bold and daring but moody and almost as if asking for trouble.  This develops more when we find out she feels guilty for her mother dying.  She is a classic story of a teenager seeking something and with her ups and downs one would think she is depressed and bipolar all in one.  From the minute I noticed those ups and downs I thought somethings going to happen and there has to be something about her that is making her this way.  Of course I thought maybe we would get to the root of the problem and Miles, being the more level headed of the group would bring her out of her sadness and self destructive behavior.  This did not happen, because Miles was intoxicated by her and is what I can only categorize as a follower.  

I liked reading the story but at the same time I could not relate to it and or thought wow these kids are out of control.  Maybe it is because of how I was in high school, which is a far cry from these teens.  I was shocked at the smoking, drinking, and sex.  I would not want my teenager to read this book.  I was also shocked that although in the end I think the characters learned to embrace their life, I don't think it was really shown that they learned there are consequences for your actions.  Of course Alaska suffered They were still drinking, smoking, and pulling pranks that were against authority just as Alaska would.  Did they learn anything with the exception of not to drink and drive? Also what about Miles.  His character shows us that if you don't like your life, runaway some where new.  There had to be someone at his old school that he could get to know and be friends with.  Even myself whom I have stated was boring and nerdy found a group of children that I could be myself with.  Miles just showed us that to fit in, you have to change yourself and  you should do all the bad things that the group is doing.  I think this is why I keep going back and forth.  The book it self was a good read and as an adult I think it was a great book.  Maybe I am just naive or simple minded.  I know some teenagers act like this but I would not want my little girl to read this until she herself was out of high school and.  

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