In honor of the trailer that spoiled the book for me (seen above), here is a review for Paper Towns (finally, a book review!)
This post is coming to you in three parts. Part 1: a letter to books. Part 2: a confession. Part 3: the actual review.
Wow this is starting to sound suspiciously like a vlogbrothers video.
If you’re uninterested in parts 1 and 2 just skip to part 3 🙂
Part 1: a letter to books.
There’s nothing better than you.
Sure it’s fun to binge watch TV shows and stare at the screen mindlessly while laughing your head off at a comedy, or maybe feeling a feeling of epic awesomeness as your favorite character kicks ass.
It’s nice to watch a movie, which is basically a 2 hour compression of a story in the life.
However, a TV show can hardly make you think, especially after 5 hours of staring at the screen and slowly draining your computer battery as you descend into the other world ADMIT IT WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE.
A movie often goes too fast for you to enjoy every specific detail or every amazing scene. (However, this does not mean a movie is for people too lazy to read. Movies can be analyzed as thoroughly as books can be. Books can be sped through as fast as movies – trust me when I was younger I only read the second half of the second page. Don’t ask me how it worked.)
But a book. You think. You notice everything (if you read carefully). You imagine. It’s the full experience.
I LOVE YOU BOOKS! NEVER CHANGE!
Part 2: a confession
I think I may have enjoyed Paper Towns more than The Fault in Our Stars.
(Disclaimer: it may be because I just finished Paper Towns and I read TFIOS ages ago. However, other reasons are stated below)
I’ll admit, I’m the kind of person who likes to get fed obvious lessons. I literally absorb ideas like a sponge: honestly, if I hadn’t read Harry Potter when I was younger I have no idea how I would’ve dealt with YA fiction like Twilight. Maybe I would’ve believed that my life goal was to marry a vampire (I sincerely hope not). Who knows.
Anyhow, The Fault in Our Stars didn’t really give me a lesson with too much impact. On the other hand, Paper Towns enforced the idea to, as John and Hank Green put it, “imagine others complexly.”
You only get the full experience of this idea if you read the book… So read it. I’ll also write my ideas in the review below… I mean if any of you are interested (I would be extremely flattered if you were).
Part 3: the actual review
Quentin Jacobsen, aka Q, is a senior. He has loved Margo Roth Speigelman, a fantastically mysterious girl who also happens to be his neighbor, for all his life. When they were young, they were best friends. However, as time went by, they split apart: Q becomes an unpopular band geek and Margo becomes the queen bee of the school. Aka all my relationships ever.
Jk I’ve never had a relationship. Fooled you there didn’t I? PSYCH!
One night, Margo appears at Quentin’s window and brings him on the adventure of his lifetime. It’s basically every teenager’s daydream: to be shepherded away by the love of your life. Just imagine the Doctor or someone coming through your window and promising you the adventure of your lifetime. Actually I might just scream and punch him so hard he flies back to Gallifrey… He actually might be happy about that.
The next day Margo disappears, but she leaves a bunch of clues, a “trail of breadcrumbs,” leading Q on a quest to find Margo: but in his journey he discovers that he’s finding Margo in a different way – the Margo everyone knew wasn’t the “real Margo.” Q’s quest becomes one to both find Margo physically, as well as the real Margo behind her façade… Or rather, the Margo behind his fantasies.
The next part is only for people who’ve finished the book. But I mean, at this point, I’m probably the last teenager who hadn’t read Paper Towns.
Each character in the book realizes the danger of not imagining people through a “window” but rather through a “mirror”; simply put, not imagining people as people.
Q’s parents, being therapists, probably realized somehow through their work. Radar realizes when he and Q are playing That Guy Is a Gigolo. Ben, when he begins to date Lacey. Margo, when she goes on her adventure with Q. And of course, Q, through his journey to find Margo.
They all realize the danger of both downgrading other people, but also, as people often forget, the opposite end of the spectrum: creating a “god” out of someone.
Writing this book from first person perspective also enforces the idea of imagining someone else complexly; it’s quite brilliant that John Green chose to write the book from Q’s point of view rather than a third person. Just as Walt Whitman became other people in Leaves of Grass, so does the reader become Q.
AND NOW PART 3.5: SOME DEEPLY PROFOUND QUOTES FROM PAPER TOWNS THAT EVERYONE SHOULD ABSORB AND LIVE BY:
“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”
“A Margo for each of us – and each more mirror than window.”
“Before he was this minor figure in the drama of my life, he was – you know, the central figure in the drama of his own life.”
Extrapolate what you will out of these quotes, and, you know, decide whether you want to live by their lessons or not 🙂
P.S. If you’re STILL hating on Cara Delevigne for being cast as Margo please grab yourself a life from the nearest department store. She’s a lovely person who’s been in acting roles before so would you PLEASE give her a chance. Also, if you’re skeptical because she’s a high class posh model or something, or maybe because you think she’s too perfect and you’re totally jealous, I IMPLORE YOU: take John Green’s lesson into heart. Imagine her complexly.