This is a book review, but it’s not like a typical book review.If you’ve ever read one of my reviews, you’ll find that I don’t tend to give away a lot about the plot. I don’t like to regurgitate the plot or reveal all of the spoilers because I want you to read the book too. So, my book reviews focus more on the experience of reading the book and how it emotionally, spiritually, or mentally impacted me. Yes, I get very involved in fictional worlds, but I won’t apologize about that for a single second.
John Green writes amazing books. The Fault in Our Stars had me crying or choked up more times than I care to admit. I’m planning to eventually work my way through all of his books, and Looking for Alaska was next on my list. The main character is a teenage boy named Miles who lives a rather mundane life in Florida. Miles has a morbid fixation with memorizing people’s last words. Thinking about last words also gets you thinking about the life that led to those last words, so Miles realized his life needed some adventure. In search of what Miles referred to as “The Great Perhaps,” he heads to a boarding school in rural Alabama.
Prior to reading this book, I did not know that John Green had attended boarding school in rural Alabama. That does explain how he was able to so perfectly depict the location and the brutal Alabama heat (I think the only worse location is the sweaty armpit of South Mississippi). Boarding school challenges Miles’ mind and convictions while introducing him to a diverse student population. He also finds his “Great Perhaps” in a girl named Alaska. Yes, it’s ironic that the girl is named Alaska when the story is set in the swampy jungle heat of Alabama.
If you want to know more about Alaska and what happens to her, read the book. My favorite part of Looking for Alaska was pondering the question of the “Great Perhaps.” It is so easy to get comfortable and complacent in your life. It is easy to become comfortable in your surroundings and relationships to a point that you become stagnant and cease to grow. I find myself surrounded by this stagnation and fear of the unknown every day. Most of the people suffering from this condition do not even recognize it for the fear that it is. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone in the age range of 18-23, it would be to move outside your comfort zone and seek that “Great Perhaps.” To find it, you’ll have to open yourself up to new places, people, and experiences because it’s not going to hunt you down hiding in your bedroom.
I, on the other hand, think I may have the opposite problem. When I start to feel that life is becoming to comfortable and complacent, I have a life crisis. I am filled with panic and anxiety and start to pace around like the walls are closing in on me. I start to resemble a caged zoo animal that could snap at any moment. The world is a big and amazing place, and we are only given a very short time to explore and experience it. Listen to the yearning of your heart and seek out the wonder of the “Great Perhaps” over and over again in your lifetime. There is always a new adventure waiting for you. Is there a place or a feeling calling to you? Listen and follow. I’m working on that right now and cannot wait to see where this path leads.
If you want to read Looking for Alaska by John Green, you can get the book from Amazon using this affiliate link and support Classical Bohemian as well.