Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green
Finished: February 9th, 2011
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

When I first began Looking for Alaska, I had my doubts. The story began as a cliché – a lonely high school boy, Miles, trying to find “The Great Perhaps”. I don’t believe it’s ever stated what exactly “The Great Perhaps” is, however; I believe Miles was looking for more – he wasn’t complacent with the typical high school experience. From here, Miles attends a boarding school where his life is turned upside down when he meets a group of new friends. This is when the story started to turn around.

The thing about Green that I love is his ability to anatomize high school. His voice is charming and original; he delivers an accurate view into the mind of high school students (and is spot-on). I’ve said before that I love when an author lures the reader deep into a story; you feel as if you’re – not in front of or behind -but walking side by side the main character.

The character development was another aspect I want to praise. The interaction with the characters, Alaska and the Coronel, really made the book for me. Yes, they were explicit, bad-mannered and offensive – but the story wouldn’t have been as interesting had they had not been written this way. You really get to know these characters (which ultimately enhances the realism of the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and would consider teaching it in my classroom. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit conservative when it comes to innuendo or extreme alcohol/drug use. It’s not that I don’t believe these are issues that high school students face; rather, it’s how they’re brought about. If I had the time to take several weeks to discuss Looking for Alaska; I would teach it. The story has wonderful attributes that would be worth diving into – yet, if I didn’t have a sufficient amount of time to discuss the controversial issues, it wouldn’t be worthwhile. Being a teacher is more than just showing up at work, getting the work done and heading home.

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