Jan 6th 2019, the day I read about Alaska’s death! There are books out there which you can discard after a single reading, and then there are books which could haunt you long after you have closed the cover and tried to sleep. I started reading “Looking for Alaska” hoping it would be another young adult book where I will be just looking forward to usual plots – about love, friendship, heartbreak, etc. A story that started unblemished turned into one of the poignant books I’ve ever read. What I least expected is for a story that leaves me hanging with a million questions.
Why the hell did she die?
Did she kill herself or was it really an accident?
Did she love Pudge?
If she had survived the accident, was there a possibility for Mile to confess his feelings to her ? 😦
John Green himself has said it’s up to us to decide. “The book belongs to the reader” and all that 🙂
“When Alaska dies, it’s extremely hard for everyone and it felt like the entire book fell apart in my hands”.
Alaska was such a sad person – emotionally confused and mysterious. In every action, she shows how impulsive and wild she is. She is impulsive because she doesn’t plan for a future. “I may die young, but at least I’ll die stupid.” She lived very much in-the-moment, because, as she learned from her mother’s untimely death, in just a heartbeat everything can fall apart. She spent her time trying to enjoy the now; SMOKING, PRANKING, KISSING, LIVING…
This is why Miles Halter aka Pudge – fascinated by famous last words, is such a foil to her character. Everything he does is calculated. “That didn’t happen, of course. Things never happen like I imagined them.” He goes to Culver Creek trying to find his Great Perhaps, but has no idea what he is looking for – to set out and be an individual ?
Alaska is at Culver Creek to escape reality, and Pudge is there to find it.
Alaska sees life as a grand tragedy. Alaska is determined to be a mystery because she is afraid of letting anyone see the truly fucked up nature of her personality. “She collapsed into an enigma of herself.”, and she really did. When she died she left nothing but frayed edges and left herself to never be truly known.
“You never get me, that’s the whole point.” – Alaska
Sure, she didn’t plan to die. But everything with Alaska fell into two categories: those things which she would plan, down to the finest detail and the things which were purely impulse, without any forethought whatsoever. She would plan meticulously for her pranks, making sure that she would be in complete control of them. Not letting the chaos which had ruled so much of her life touch them. But on a highway, feeling like the world was falling out from beneath her: she was a fuck-up, a drunk, a smoker, she had sort of cheated on Jake and she had forgotten her mother’s anniversary. She had forgotten the day she had let her mother die. The day she became the fuck-up she is now.
You can picture her in Blue Citrus in the dark, with the lights creating these shadows across the road, tears smearing her already intoxicating vision. You can see her thinking – shit shit shit. I fucked up again. I failed her again. I failed them again. I failed myself again. You can just see her seeing the flashing lights and hearing the siren and starting to slow down, then thinking about the goddamn labyrinth and all her suffering, and remembering her words in her book “straight and fast” and – she presses her foot down on the accelerator and the engine roars but you can’t hear it over the sirens and the chaos and the lights and the blinding pain and sadness Alaska feels. And then she is gone. POOF.
The chaos, the impulsiveness. It’s all so very ALASKA. It’s all to very her. Leaving herself a mystery. Inflicting pain on herself as well as others.
“If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless.”
Alaska. She was beautiful. And she was a beautiful tragedy!!!
“She didn’t leave me enough to discover her, but she left me enough to rediscover the Great Perhaps.”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska
Looking for Alaska undeniably left me questioning my ability to cope, and how far I would be willing to hold on to something or toss it away when it really matters or when it actually burns my soul. Will I be able to hold on to hope within my personal labyrinths of suffering?
“We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.”
Looking for Alaska will always remain a story I keep in the back of my mind. John Green’s writing is insanely good because it is the kind of writing that creeps in little by little and it’s like I start reading a paragraph and it seems like any regular paragraph in the world of books, until I reach its end and then it hits me and I realize that there is more beauty in one single paragraph of a John Green book than in entire book collections out there.
“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”