Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Review: Paper Towns (by John Green)

What am I doing reading a book that is targeted at youngsters ? Well, this piece of literature by John Green, who is more popularly known for penning books like 'Alaska' and 'The Fault in Our Stars', made me feel like a teenager again. I picked it up in a Sale and just as I skimmed through the first few pages, I became hooked.

The action takes place in a high school and involves a bunch of teenagers, mostly prominent among them being 'Margo', the female protagonist of this story. She is one super cool teenager with a super hot boyfriend and moves around in a hallowed gang which consists of the hottest chicks. But one night of revenge inspired adventure wherein she chooses Quentin, an average guy, instead of one among her gang-mates reveals that all is not well in her paradise.

Then she suddenly disappears, a few days before prom night (can I call it an American fascination that refuses to die?), and her parents quickly disown her. We get to know that this has been a regular habit of hers. But the way her gang reacts to her disappearance tells us a lot about their individual misgivings and failings. One realizes the amount of stress and jealousy one must handle in order to come across as a super cool teenager. However, it is Quentin and his honest love for her that makes his embark on an eventful journey that will finally lead him to her.

Margo's and Quentin's friends make for a strange and almost crazy mix. One of the kids has parents who are obsessed with black Santa's to such a dubious extent that they hold a record for it. Then there is the nerd who has come up with something called the Omnictionary, an online reference manual, and his whole life is devoted towards it. Maybe it is Green's way of trying to portray folks as flawed or highly skewed individuals instead of prefect caricatures. I mean that is how most of us are when we are not wearing a mask.

While the plot may not be much (and hence I am quite reluctant of  revealing a little of something that is already little), this book raises a lot of questions that we are afraid of asking. If you know anyone who is about to step into his/her teenage years, please gift them a copy (that is if they are the bookish types coz a lot of kids these days are more addicted to games).

[ Note - There is some locker room talk that might not be suitable for younger kids but at the same time it is nothing that they have not been exposed to....Thanks to television and internet]

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