Paper Towns: the definition of pointless.

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(WARNING: this review will contain spoilers)

I finished reading this book yesterday. To be honest, I’m not a fan of John Green. I read the Fault in Our Stars over a year ago and didn’t think much of it. In my opinion it was over-hyped and quite unrealistic to the reality in which people with cancer live. (My aunt is currently living with cancer, and I’ve had many friends that have lost people because of cancer). But I decided to give John Green another chance, because he doesn’t seem like a bad writer. I saw that Paper Towns was becoming a movie and so I got a little excited and bought Paper Towns, deciding to try again, because sometimes you might read a book by an author and not fall in love with it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t enjoy other books by them.

The thing is, I did enjoy this book. It was a fun read and the characters were interesting and fun, and a hell lot of more realistic to The Fault in Our Stars. But when I finished the book I was left disappointed and empty. Why? Well let me tell you.

This book is about a boy who is in love with his next door neighbour. One night she creeps into his room and basically forces him to help her do some crazy shit. And then the next day she disappears. He finds out she usually does this and leaves clues, so he searches for them in order to find her. He finds a couple of clues that lead to a book and then he spends the entire length of the novel reading this book, or more precisely, this poem she’s left behind. That’s basically all that happens. He spends the entire f***ing book reading a poem. And then, he finds the clue that leads him to her. A clue that isn’t even in the damn stupid poem at all!!! So he goes along with his friends, missing their high school graduation to this location where they finally find her. Only to discover that she never intended to leave those clues, not really… and she didn’t want to be found. And then the book ends.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

Frustrated-Boromir

What is the point behind this book? I feel as though there is some sort of deep meaningful message buried within the pages… But clearly I’m not as smart as John Green to get it. So what is this message? That teenage girls suck? You shouldn’t follow someone that runs away? Don’t miss graduation because it just isn’t worth it? WHAT IS THE MESSAGE JOHN GREEN?

There were a few quotes in the book that I enjoyed, like:

“Aren’t you worried about, like, forever?”

“Forever is composed of nows.”

And,

“But isn’t it also that on some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are? We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals.”

While I read the book I was enjoying it, and I kept reading eagerly in order to figure out the mystery behind the girl. Why did she go? What would they find when they reached her? What was going to happen?

And then it ended like that, and I was left wanting to bang my head against the wall. This book felt completely and utterly pointless!

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6 thoughts on “Paper Towns: the definition of pointless.

  1. I understand what you feel right now. I felt the same way about this book at first. And I have to admit I am a big John Green fan. I loved that book and I loved this one too. But only after re-reading it. I was disappointed in the end, the first time. But then I thought, if she HAD actually left those clues and she wanted to be found, she wouldn’t have left at all. This book had me thinking “It’s not about the destination but the journey in between.”
    And that was a lot of fun. He saw those clues because he wanted to see them. He wanted there to be a reason why she left, a hope that she’ll be found. That’s why he saw it. I know it’s hars finding deep meanings in this book when everything just seems to be written for fun. But that’s just my opinion.

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    • loved your comment. I actually see what you mean and it makes sense and probably would change my way of seeing the book if I reread it 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me:)

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  2. I’m a huge John Green fan, mostly as a person, partly as a writer, but I completely understand what you mean. Honestly of all his books, Paper towns is my least favorite. That being said, I have this theory about John Green. He’s Nicolas Sparks for nerds. Not a single John Green book ends well. Or at least, they never end the way you want them too, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. They are all enjoyable to read, filled to the brim with funny anecdotes and quotably weird characters and while you’re in them they are fantastic. But when they end, you hurt, or are confused or somewhat broken. I think you have to enter his worlds with a grain of salt and enjoy the ride while you’re there but be aware that they don’t ever end with Happily Ever After.

    For me, the upside to Paper Towns was this idea of misremembering someone. That we imagine people and we project our own ideas and ideals of who they are and who we think they are, and we can build entire memories or histories around those, but at the end of the day who they truly are and who we think they are happen to be completely different people. It’s interesting to me to consider that other people view us like that as well. I wonder about the loops we find ourselves in. Am I the person that I am, day to day, or the person I strive to be and the changes I try to make. Or am I the person that other people see me as. And if each person sees us a little differently with their own flavor to the mix, then who we are is a constantly changing beast.

    John Green’s books make me happy while I’m reading them, and sad when they’re over. But to me, their primary gift to readers, is the food for thought/quotable angst they leave behind.

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