John Green’s Paper Towns.

I’m not having any of the fair life crises people are getting. It’s as if I queued for it but when it got to my turn, the giver smiled at me and said, Hunny we are sorry but you’d have to go because we have given all there is out. Of course, I’m the last person, no one is standing around me so that’s right. It’s really getting crazy for me. Really crazy! and if this qualifies as imposter syndrome, I don’t mind and the truth is there is absolutely nothing I can do about this right now.

Note to self: What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person!!!

Well, I had one last thing to do, which was to STOP! 

I did and buried myself. Deep in paper towns which made me feel safe until THE END! I still don’t understand why all good things have to end. I won’t mind sitting forever to get an explanation for that. This has to be one of my worst days, but the brief moment in paper towns was important, and now that it is over I can feel myself going back into my pre-paper towns moments. Yeh, I do not got this, and it’s confusing me the most.

Rightly said by Margo- Everything’s uglier close-up.

One of the most significant lessons I’d say this book exposed me to is getting to really know people, getting to understand them, and accepting the reality that comes with it. 

Speaking about reality, Quentin wasn’t exactly being that when his entire attention shifted from his own life at a point for Margo. He was in love and believe me when I say I related to Quentin more than I did with Margo and for fuck’s sake I know I’m capable of doing worse than Green allowed him to.

It is when Quentin writes his paper and makes this unconscious (even perhaps conscious) choice of choosing “heroism” to define Ahab that I find that it reflects Quentin’s actions perfectly. He is a Hero in a quest and it doesn’t matter if he finds what he is looking for, the Quest itself is what is important and in that sense, the bittersweet ending is absolute perfection because Quentin has utterly and completely found… himself, even if he wasn’t even lost to start with. There is a certain quietly nostalgic feel to this story—In a way, Quentin is saying goodbye to many things in this book: his high school, his past, his ideal of Margo Roth Spiegelman.

Margo Roth Spiegelman & Q

Paper towns is a personal thing. Most of us, unless we are psychopaths, can relate to almost any story of unrequited love, but Paper Towns takes it a step further. Q is immeasurably and infallibly in love with Margo, his next-door neighbor, and a woman he’s barely spoken to since they were playmates but has always spied from afar. As the novel progresses, the question becomes increasingly clear: who is Q actually in love with? The sassy Margo of the real world who runs away on thrilling adventures and disappears for days on end? Or the idea of Margo that Q has built up inside his mind with relentless daydreaming, infatuation, and longing?

No one can tell me otherwise- I mean now that I have read it. I’ve had this book amongst my other to be read’ for almost two years, if not more, and it was only these few days that I decided to try reading it. I thought this gave me all I needed to know…

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs 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 the girl he thought he knew…

Was I in love at first read? Hell No (not to trash it completely but I have read better stories), I almost decided not to finish it but it was the only book that could fit perfectly into my work bag so I kept it in my bag and when I felt bored at work, I took it out and read. The characters didn’t exactly feel real to me (even though I made myself understand Paper Towns is more a book of ideas than a book of characters), the ending was predictable plus the writing wasn’t particularly sophisticated but knowing Green and being familiar with his style of writing although I think The fault in our stars is still his best and only best book, I didn’t mind that the writing wasn’t sophisticated-not like I wanted sophisticated either.

But in Paper towns, it’s mostly the lessons that were IT for me. I felt he was trying to make good points about how we view those around us.

When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”

We must check ourselves on making assumptions about people’s experiences and feelings. My copy is having Intelligent scribbled hastily in most of the pages and here is what made the most sense and resonated with me most.

“Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement, there was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for planning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future — you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college.” 

Margo’s unconventional, no doubt but it’s the wanderlust in her that drives her to skip school and college and leave the comforts of her home and family for a solo backpacking trip across America. Unlike Q who is eager to follow the time-tested go to college/get a job/start a family route, Margo plans to sacrifice all that and live her life in the present moment, doing what she wants and on her own terms as well.

I know I said I buried myself into paper towns to feel better but truth is, it equally made me cry and question myself more, like that quote for instance; I stopped and asked myself some questions I have been avoiding and thought about my life briefly. 

I often get lost in trying so hard to make the right plans at the right times under the right circumstances. As a human race, I think we get caught up in that too often. We are so worried about the future that we forget to enjoy the present. We need to embrace each moment as it comes, appreciating it for what it is: another moment in which we are alive, experiencing this fucking world that does not exactly make sense to some of us a lot of times.

In Paper Towns, Green uses his unique style ( a combination of humor, brutal honesty, and quirky characters) to explore an essential question: what is the difference between the person we present to the world and the person we really are? Now that I think about it, Reading and finding out these things was a necessary thing for me.

“And all at once I knew how Margo Roth Spiegelman felt when she wasn’t being Margo Roth Spiegelman: she felt empty. She felt the unscalable wall surrounding her. I thought of her asleep on the carpet with only that jagged sliver of sky above her. Maybe Margo felt comfortable there because Margo the person lived like that all the time: in an abandoned room with blocked-out windows, the only light pouring in through holes in the roof. Yes. The fundamental mistake I had always made–and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make–was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.”

 One thing for sure is, I know I never want to read the name Margo Roth Spielgelman ever again. That’s really for sure.

You, however, should consider reading this book because it was thoughtfully written. I know that’s not enough for you to rush and go get it but just consider reading it. And oh the literary references were mwah, while we are talking about considerations, kindly find Leaves of grass by Walt Whitman, for the poetry of course. You’d love it if you pass through paper towns. The story may be ancient(2008) and prolly I’m the last person reading it on earth (i don’t believe that though).

Plus its transition to the big screen wasn’t that bad. Felt more regular. It cut out the boring parts and added some very funny and nice scenes that lacked in the book. I liked the changes they made with that aspect of the book. I liked the casting, I think it was spot on. Except for Margo and not because Cara isn’t good enough for the part but because of her weight. Margo is supposed to be “curvy” and she got “bullied” by Lacey because of her figure. And I hated that they didn’t keep this part in the movie because there wasn’t any real reason after all for Margo to be hating Lacey. Margo was supposed to be “the most perfect and popular girl in the entire school” and she was curvy. A white Angela would have passed to be a Margo in the movie. Honestly, why make Q’s love for Margo unrequited? When it was the opposite in the book? I didn’t understand this change. It was unnecessary and it didn’t add anything to the plot. But, as I said, the transition wasn’t that bad.

Also, the way the story deals with your imaginations of others forces you to evaluate how you see others. It is said that “It is easy to forget how full the world is of people…and each of them imaginable and consistently is imagined” 

Just so you are clear on how I feel about this book, I will rate it. I give this book 3stars ⭐⭐⭐

Have I watched the movie? Yes.
Book or movie? Book!!! Always the book for me. (I can’t even tell you why always book anymore)

John Green- the author.

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