Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Musings: Paper Towns

Paper Towns
Paper Towns by John Geeen

Since I became a Nerdfighter it's been on my to-do list to read the only John Green book I hadn't yet read. I picked it up at the Harvard Coop the other day and read it that night. I loved it. 

There's so much I admire about Green's writing. His willingness and ability to show smart, self-aware characters. His use of 19th century poetry within the novel. The themes that are SO TRUE about the way we see others and ourselves. 

It made me feel better about my own writing, my quirky characters, and also gives me so much to strive for. The book made me laugh out loud in a "did that seriously just happen?!" way, and also turn pages dying to know what happens but also amazingly wary. The end--and almost everything in between--was perfect for the novel emotionally, thematically and circularity... (this last word does not fit).


In two places the characters use the r-word (retarded). I am willing to concede all the ways in which it works with the story. There is a scene where Q, the main character, protests against the use of the word "faggot", so his (or his friends') casual use of the r-word shows the way we may protest something in one arena but ignore it in another, we are fallible and changeable. It was also used in the way teenagers use it. Added validity. It wasn't a gratuitous joke the way I've protested it in other books.

But I still don't think it was necessary. I hate censorship, will defend an author's right to use profanity until the Great White Wall of Cow (Paper Towns joke) comes home. But I wonder if there were other readers with disabilities who let out a little sigh of disappointment--in the way I did--while Green's LBGTQ and racially diverse readers cheered on other parts of the novel. 

Still, I loved Paper Towns and plan on rereading it. It's going on my shelf of favorite YA (re:on top of my printer).

Also, found this in my copy and it made me supremely happy: