Have you ever read a book that made you feel instantly sad? Not sad in the sobbing kind of way, but more in the thoughtful, contemplative way. Paper Towns made me feel this way almost immediately. After reading just the introduction, I thought it was going to be a book about death and honestly, maybe even about suicide. I wanted to put it aside and find a happy, funny book; but, since I already failed with my first book reading attempt I decided to just give this one a chance.
It isn’t a hard book to read considering it is teen fiction but I found myself stopping many times and thinking, “is this what teens really act like? Should they be doing or saying these things?” (Maybe at the ripe old age of 35 I am just too old to know what’s up anymore!!) Do not behave like the main character, kids… it’s not cool!
I am conflicted about this book. It kept me interested, the plot was there and the characters drew me in yet I found myself so irritated with the main character. She is selfish and uncaring, yet what teen girl isn’t?! Her parents frustrated me and I just felt sorry for her little sister.
Yet, when I go back to the meaning behind the book and the narrative that we are meant to take away from the story and it’s characters, I can’t help but like or at the very least appreciate what the authour is trying to accomplish with this book. John Green says about this book–
Paper Towns was partly inspired by my desire to respond to….the difficulty of imagining others complexly. It seems to me that the central problem of being a person is that it is extremely hard to empathize with other people, and Paper Towns is an exploration of how we learn to empathize, even with people who may be super annoying or make terrible choices.
So, while I honestly wouldn’t recommend this book to most teens; I can see the value behind the message that is given. Perhaps it is because I have an almost teenager and I don’t want her thinking this book is full of appropriate behaviour; or maybe it’s because as an adult, the message didn’t completely leap off the page at me, but I have serious doubt that an immature young person would grasp all the nuances behind the words on the pages of Paper Towns.
Bottom line–I enjoyed this book because while it was easy reading, it also made me think. I am huge believer in allowing myself to read or hear things that I may not agree with 100%. Growing as a person cannot happen if we insist on staying in our little bubble, hiding from the real world, and never learning about the viewpoints of others! So, go, and read a book and learn something new about how others think!
And because every post needs a picture (according to Anson), enjoy a selfie with my glasses because glasses make you look smart and smart people read books!