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Essay: Looking for Alaska – John Green (book report)

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 5 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 9 July 2021*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 1,262 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 6 (approx)

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Main Character Miles lived his life as an underdog. He is tall and skinny, that is why his friends at Culvers Creek called him Pudge. He had been obsessed with the last words from people who died since he was 12. One of his favorite quotes is “I go to seek a great perhaps”—François Rabelais.
He decides to go to a school named Culvers Creek. He makes a lot of new friends over here including Alaska Young. They share the love of last words from people. Starting the book you can notice that Miles likes Alaska, but Alaska does not notice this. She sets up a triple date for her, the Colonel and Miles. The girl Miles takes on a date is named Lara. Lara and Miles date for like three days until Miles realizes he cannot continue because he is in love with Alaska. All through the book you can read how Miles, with the nickname pudge, falls more and more in love with Alaska. His friends are not a good influence on him. Before he went to Culvers Creek he never drank or smoked before. On Culver Creek he does it on a regular basis. You learn a lot about Miles as you go through the book. About the way he thinks among other things. He is a really outstanding (on his own way) open-minded person.
The second main character Alaska Young is a beautiful, wild and unpredictable person. She has been through a lot in her younger years. She does not have a good tie with her father and her mom died when she was eight. She is really suffering from this, but she does not tell anyone until she is drunk one night. Alaska is the real mystery of this book. You don’t get to know a lot about her through the book. She is very mysterious.
Chip Martin, better known as the Colonel. A big built guy. He is the best friend of Alaska and the roommate of Miles. He used to live in a trailer with his mom, they were not rich but they had a very good tie.
Takumi, a side character. He is a friend of Alaska and Chip. He is really into hip-hop.
Lara, a Romanian student from Culvers Creek. She was a friend of Alaska and used to date Miles for a while.
Jake, Alaska’s now ex-boyfriend. Doesn’t study at Culvers Creek.

Themes and structure

Looking for Alaska has more themes but one main theme. The main theme of this book is ‘friendship’ because when anyone has a hard time in de book, they can all relay on their friends. You really get into the main character Miles and all his friendships.
Subthemes are love for example, because Miles falls in love with Alaska, Chip and his girlfriend fight a lot.
Another subtheme is letting go. Alaska struggles all her life with the death of her mother. Miles struggles with letting Alaska go when she dies until he realizes it was her own choice.
The book has a different kind of structure. The book is built up in a before and after. You start with one hundred thirty-nine days before and one hundred nineteen days after. The day you go to zero is the day when Alaska died. This is really special because the book builds op to one point, like every book does, but this point is not the end and usually it would be, just like in other books.

Professional opinions vs mine.

For my own opinion I am going to compare professional reviews of the book to mine. I took a review from the Guardian. I am picking a few sentences out of the review. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/13/review-looking-for-alaska-john-green

“His debut novel, Looking For Alaska, is a showcase to the raw talent John Green has, the kind of talent that can make you close the crisp last page of a novel and come out as a different person.”

This review says it is a very good book that makes you think and come out of it as ‘a different person’. I agree to this. It is a book with a lot of depth. It makes you think about a certain situation, for example when Alaska dies. It gives you a different perspective to things. When you are reading the book you sort of get emotionally attached to Alaska. You are going to think like Miles does, so when Alaska dies, it just hits you.

“The beauty of the book is that it doesn’t hide anything. It showcases what young love and growing up really are in a brutal and honest light.”

The book has some really heavy parts. It has a lot of surprises, things you would never expect that will happen. This is what makes it so real. What bothered me sometimes was that Miles never really said what he actually meant. He tried to describe things in other ways, with quotes for example or he held back what he really wanted to say. There was a scene in the book right after he got taped up and thrown in the water. He was in Alaska’s room and he tried to explain what happened but Alaska was constantly talking over him and said he should not exaggerate so much. Alaska did not know he was taped up and I don’t get why Miles did not tell her. He was only thinking it and not expressing himself. That is what bothered me about the book sometimes.

“Why I prefer John Green’s debut novel to his other ones is because he’s made no effort to make it an appropriate and proper book. You might not weep buckets like most people did at the end of The Fault in Our Stars, but you’ll get attached to Miles and Alaska, just as they do to each other.”

I do agree that it is a story you can get carried away with, you get attached to the people in the book. On the other hand, I do not agree to his sentence “he’s made no effort to make it an appropriate and proper book.” I do think it is a proper book. Yes, it has its sexual scenes and things that people could get offended by, but that is a personal opinion. I don’t feel that way at all.
Overall it was a really good book that I really liked. I would definitely recommend it. I am planning on reading more books of John Green after this one, so I am happy I chose this one to write about in my report.


After all these pages of information about literature, you can’t really give a real answer to the question ‘What is Literature?’
But what I can answer is the question what kind of literature is the book I have read?
It’s a novella, it consist of 221 pages.
Then we have the question is this Literature or Lecture?
I personally think this book is Literature instead of Lecture because first of all, it won a lot of prizes for writing. Second, this is a complex book with a lot of depth and has more than one main character. Miles has a lot of problems and problems of others to deal with. It really carries you away and makes you think about life in general.
The plot is really surprising.
I would like to appraise John Green for writing this vibrant, emotional and surprisingly lovely book.

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