Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Read: "Paper Towns" by John Green

Read: Paper Towns by John Green, 2008, 9780525478188.

Decent. First half was good, second half not as good. I read this for Cafe Library at the High School.

Quentin is a HS senior in Orlando and has been in love/infatuation with his next door neighbor Margo for ten years or so. Margo is the amazing, adventurous, beautiful and mysterious girl of the high school. Margo crafts amazing plans like a 200 house toilet papering, a secret, solo, road trip to Mississippi, adventurous late-night break-ins to amusement parks, etc.

Quentin has barely spoken to Margo in the past four years but one evening at midnight she knocks at his bedroom window. She takes him along to fulfill an 11 item list of revenge against her friends - plus a 4 AM stop at SeaWorld. Qunetin hopes this signals a major change with Margo who will now talk to him at school, maybe join him and a pal for lunch, or - please God, please - swap spit with him. Margo disappears instead.

Margo has disappeared before and always came back. But, this time feels different and her parents have had enough. Margo is eighteen and her asshole parents change the house locks and figure to hell with her. But, Margo has always left cryptic clues pointing to her destinations and Quentin takes up the challenge to find her.

Quentin enlists his two pals and, along with one of Margo's pals, they try and hunt Margo down. At first Quentin is convinced Margo has killed herself. But, as they finally track her down he changes his mind and learns a hell of a lot more about Margo than anyone else knew. Her teen angst dissatisfaction with Orlando, her loneliness, her private likes, her hate of her expected life path, dislike of other people, so on, so forth. Cue multiple discussions of personality and perceptions.

I agree with one of the Mulligan kids at the book club that the first half of the novel was better than the second. The meeting up of Margo and Quentin at the end was realistic but anti-climatic. You could see the result coming and when you got there it was not all that exciting.

I dislike when authors reference music and musicians and make them important to the story. I think you need to hear the music to have that reference and I cannot hear it from a book. I also hate when the author seems to be looking for a way to promote his favorite band of the moment. Example: Quentin and friends driving around playing music by The Mountain Goats. Who gives a fuck?

The mystery aspect of tracking Margo down was very well done.

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