Thursday, February 5, 2009

Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska Looking for Alaska by John Green

Awards:  SLJ Best Book; Kirkus Editors Choice; Booklist Editors' Choice; Michael Printz Award/Honor Book; ALA Best Book for Young Adults; YALSA Top Ten

rating: 1 of 5 stars

Did not finish.  

I really debated whether to read this or not.  I had a feeling I wouldn't like it two years ago when we had a choice to read it in my YA Lit class.  (I chose to read Keturah and Lord Death instead, which I really liked!)  Based on the comments in my class, some really liked Looking for Alaska and some really didn't.  And there were spoilers all over the place, so I knew where the book was headed.  So, I have held off until now.  But after really enjoying An Abundance of Katherines, I decided to give this John Green book a try.  I'm 100 pages in, and I'm done.

This book was just too much--too much smoking, drinking, sex, and foul language. There was also something about the characters that just suffocated me.  I didn't care about any of them except for Miles and I hated how he just went along with everything thrown in his path without a second thought--the smoking, drinking, porn, etc.  He didn't have an identity, but I did feel sorry for him.  

This book has been the subject of much controversy, for many of the reasons I have mentioned.  I will just say for the record that I do not advocate censorship, but I do advocate using my reading time in ways that make me happy.

Will I read Paper Towns?  Probably.  John Green in indisputably a talented writer.  And, certainly my feelings are in the minority regarding this book.  But, there's a wide range of opinions in the blogging world on this one, so check these out:


Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't realize YA books include drinking, smoking and sex these days.

Jessica said...

Tricia, thanks for the perspective on this book. I read it a few months ago and really loved it. I agree with you that there was a lot of sex, smoking, drugs, etc., but I thought they were there for a reason.

Anyway, my review can be found here:

(I love the design of your blog.)

Tricia said...

Bermudaonion: Generally speaking, I think YA is "safer" than adult books. But, I read some real eye opening stuff in my YA Lit class.

Jessica: They are there for a reason, but I guess I just didn't want to wade through it even if it was worth it at the end. I felt the same way about The Kite Runner. I have to admit, I'm a really finicky reader--sometimes I can handle it, and sometimes I can't.
P.S. I love yours too. :)

____Maggie said...

Wow! Thanks for including me. I loved the book and I'm sorry you did not. Hope your next book is a big hit. :)

Charley said...

Your review is the first negative one I've read about this book. I didn't connect with Paper Towns, but I agree that Green is a talented writer, so I still plan to read Looking for Alaska. I wonder if I'll make it farther than 100 pages..

Jena said...

I differ in opinion regarding this this book--sex, smoking & swearing in teen books doesn't make me particularly uncomfortable unless it's gratuitous, and I didn't think (most of) it was in this book. I'm interested to see what you think of Paper Towns, since most people who liked Paper Towns seem to have liked Looking for Alaska, too.

My review is here:

Paige said...

I appreciate that you shared even though you didn't finish the book.

Booklogged said...

"I do not advocate censorship, but I do advocate using my reading time in ways that make me happy." I agree with you 100% and so I will skip this book. There are too many good and great books to wade through stuff that doesn't sit with our standards.

I wouldn't let my students swear or talk nasty in my classroom at the alternative high school. They always came back with, "It's part of life." I'd agree and add that so is body waste but that doesn't mean we need to wade through the sewers all day, everyday.

We get to make choices that please us when it comes to reading.

Amy said...

Wow! I've heard so much wonderful about John Green, I think this is the first negative thing I've heard!
Bermudaonion: what's in YA books sometimes shocks me.