Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Published: September 22, 2009
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge — he follows.
After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues — and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
In reading The Fault in Our Stars, I discovered John Green. I found him to be a bit pretentious (okay, a lot pretentious) but the way he crafted his world, and his way with words won me over. The Fault in Our Stars reads like a movie, and I’m glad I experienced both mediums. Curiosity got the better of me, and after a friend’s non stop barrage of tweets about Green’s other works I picked up Paper Towns from the library. I let it sit around for a few days before I picked it up and started to read.
Almost instantly I’m greeted by the same prose, the same slightly overbearing pontification of word-smithing, and yet I chug on. I try to connect with the plot, with the characters with this whirlwind of a hope of a chance of a female named Margo Roth Spiegleman and her ever present, yet cast aside straight man Q. Let me tell you, if I have to read the words Margo Roth Spiegleman again, it’ll be all too soon. What frustrates me so much with this novel is the time Q spends chasing this girl and she’s not even what he really wants. Q doesn’t even know what he wants (and here in might be the main purpose behind the story–but still).
What I take out of it, is it’s a love letter and a goodbye note left by Margo Roth Spiegleman to Q. I really like the reaction she has later on in the book. She’s wanting to be free from the societal bounds she’s put on herself–and I think Q and the Scooby Gang going after her completely undermines that. It’s a drawn out process and maddening in it’s plodding progression. Yes, it’s a coming of age story, yes it’s the last hurrah before graduating high school and stepping into the grand void of the unknown.
I wanted to love this book so hard. I wanted it to be something that after reading I went out and purchased and put on my shelf, like I did with TFiOS. I also tried really hard to keep from drawing comparisons of the two, but they just kept happening. Things would creep in, details, narrative nuances that I couldn’t help but notice. I prefer TFiOS, though I can’t deny that Paper Towns is well written and there’s an audience for it, it just didn’t happen to float my boat.
This particular quote has stuck with me though, and I can’t seem to shake it.
“– I mean at some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away, too.” I liken this as a warning to Q, not to get so wrapped up in Margo, but at this point there’s really no turning back. Not for Q, or the reader.