Sometimes we pick books because of their covers, something artistic speaks to our soul. Sometimes it is because of a recommendation from someone. Sometimes, you pick it up because you know you like the author. While all three of these reasons played a part in my decision to pick up Looking for Alaska by John Green, I sometimes think that the god of literature had a hand in placing this book in my hands exactly when I needed it.
“How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?” (158)
The Great Perhaps is out there, it has to be, and that Great Perhaps is exactly what Miles “Pudge” Halter is looking for when he moves from Florida to go to a boarding school in Alabama. The Great Perhaps.
The Colonel, Takumi, Alaska, and Lara become part of the Great Perhaps that Pudge is looking for, how could they not be? The Colonel, suffering from short-man syndrome, in love with the wrong girl, and one of the best momma’s boys you’ll ever meet, becomes Pudge’s roommate, gives him a nickname, and adopts him into his crew. Takumi is a music man, Lara is foreign and pronounces her soft i’s incorrectly, and then there is Alaska Young.
The illegal cigarette dealer, the best drinker in the group, the one who dramatically shifts from silent and mysterious in that annoyingly intentional way to open and fun. She is the glue, but what happens when tragedy strikes? Do you head out, “straight and fast” or do you choose the labyrinth?
One of my favorite parts of the books is the way that the chapters are titled. Each one begins one hundred twenty-six days before, and steadily counts down, so you know that something is coming. Every new chapter you know that you are getting closer to something. You feel this trepidation in your heart and you keep reading because you know you can’t go on without knowing, all the while dreading what you will find out.
This book broke my heart, then put it back together. It’s like when you drop your favorite coffee cup and watch it break on the ceramic tile. It’s broken, but you love it, so you gorilla glue it back together, but there is always this one chip that can’t be repaired. This book did that to my heart.