Monday, 16 June 2014

Paper Towns- John Green

The story is based in Orlando, Florida. The book is divided into three parts- The Strings, The Grass and The Vessel and all these parts carry different meanings. The book begins with Quentin (Q) and Margo discovering a dead body in the community park. Margo is unafraid of approaching the dead body but Quentin is scared.


Later on, Margo grows up to be very adventurous, reckless and beautiful. While Q is shy and reserved. Their social groups in school are different, Margo being in the popular group and Q hangs around with his two friends. Incidentally, Margo and Q are neighbours. One day, out of the blue, Q is invited for an adventure at night with Margo and it changes his life. He comes to know that Margo had a very vast collection of records implying her love for music about which no one knows in school. Also, Margo has a disturbed family life and uncaring parents therefore she runs away from home pretty often. Q's way of thinking is challenged and the way he thinks is changed after doing weird things around the city and listening to Margo's way of looking at the world.

When Margo runs away for once and for all, Q tries to find her with the help of clues which she has left behind. He ends up reading Song of Myself by Walt Whitman over and over again. In the end, he manages to find Margo which was quite predictable.

Margo challenges the regular cliched notions that society has and her character actually makes us reconsider life. If you want to find philosophy, it can be found in this book interspersed with a beautiful story-line.

The book is named Paper Towns because we live in a fake world. We think we are great but we are really small dots on this planet. Also the place where Margo ran off to, was a place which did not exist but was mentioned on a map. Therefore that town was recorded only on paper but didn't exist physically. By going there, Margo became a paper girl. Here's an excerpt on this-

“Here's what's not beautiful about it: from here, you can't see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You can see how fake it all is. It's not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It's a paper town. I mean, look at it, Q: look at all those culs-de-sac, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I've lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.”