BOOKREVIEW#59 Looking for Alaska by John Green
Ever since reading The Fault in Our Stars, I couldn't get John Green off my mind. Honestly, Looking for Alaska can't top The Fault in Our Stars... but it has its high points here and there. It talks about troubled teenage years with a sense of camaraderie that is bound by loyalty and secrets. This book is about people you thought you knew but really didn't.
For more book reviews, visit this page. Continue reading to read my book discussion answers.
Some Intentionally Vague and Broad Discussion Questions
1. Is forgiveness universal? I mean, is forgiveness really available to all people, no matter the circumstances? Is it, for instance, possible for the dead to forgive the living, and for the living to forgive the dead?
I don't think forgiveness is universal nor do I think it is really available to all people. I think mercy is a limited product. It is not readily available when we need it and it is rather a destination. Forgiveness is not something we give, or get; it's something we reach. When people "forgive" us, it is a declaration of their willingness to go through the process of reaching forgiveness, rather the more popular belief of forgiveness as a something that we either hand out or not. Also, forgiveness is a destination some people will never reach--like a summit--if one doesn't work for it.
2. I would argue that both in fiction and in real life, teenage smoking is a symbolic action. What do you think it's intended to symbolize, and what does it actually end up symbolizing? To phrase this question differently: Why would anyone ever pay money in exchange for the opportunity to acquire lung cancer and/or emphysema?
I also believe that smoking, both in fiction and real life, is a symbolic action. Whenever it starts, it always symbolizes either rebellion or independence. Among many things, it may symbolize rebellion against authority, rules and even self. It can also be a display of faux independence; like saying, I know this is bad for my body but I will smoke because I can. People will give up all sorts of things just to express power.
3. Do you like Alaska? Do you think it's important to like people you read about?
I don't like Alaska. I find her interesting but I don't find her odd behavior and outlook in life justified. I think it's important to feel something about the stories we read--be it towards the situations in the chapters or the characters themselves. The relationship of the reader with the written work is what weaves magic through the art of imagination. I am not fond of Alaska, and that lack of fondness drew me closer.
4. By the end of this novel, Pudge has a lot to say about immortality and what the point of being alive is (if there is a point). To what extent do your thoughts on mortality shape your understanding of life's meaning?
I think life is about making sense of whatever life you take in just so you can continue your life. I think life is about creating worth. More than meaning, I think life is about making things matter--the air you breathe, the food you eat, the space you take. It's about deserving what your life consumes for the sake of living. Life is about doing good because as long as you live, you take in a little bit of everybody else's life.
5. How would you answer the old man's final question for his students? What would your version of Pudge's essay look like?
Gracefully, I'd love to think.
It's my first time to ever answer a book discussion! Care to answer #1 and 2?