As I held my brand-new purchase in my hands, the one I had been coveting for months, I was practically exploding with giddiness, excitement, and anticipation. John Green’s novel, Paper Towns, had been at the top of my TO-READ list for quite some time, but my library never had it in stock. Whomp. So you can imagine my excitement as I settled on my living room couch, ready to embark on a journey with one of my favorite authors. But then something funny happened. Ten pages into the book and I just wasn’t into it. Not a big deal though; some books start out slow. Then 20 pages went by. And then 30. 40. 50. And by page 60 I realized: I just don’t like this book.
Whenever I don’t like a hugely popular book, movie, or song, my immediate reaction is that there’s something wrong with me. I mean, how can I be the only human on earth (or what feels like the only human on earth) who dislikes something? Growing up, I was always taught that majority rules. Whatever the majority of a given group of people believe becomes etched in stone. The majority of my friends want McDonald’s for dinner? Then that’s where we’re going. The majority of my family wants to have Christmas dinner at Uncle Steve’s house? Then that’s where it’ll be.
However, when it comes to opinions on any given topic, majority is irrelevant. A book cannot be inherently good, but rather, objectively good. In reality, there’s no such thing as a good book. Or a bad one. It’s all about opinion. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do right now. I’m going to give you my (less-than-favorable) opinion of a (more-than-popular) book.
Paper Towns is told in the perspective of Quentin Jacobsen, a high school senior who basically, to put it shortly, is a nerd who has spent his whole life doing nothing but nerdy things. He’s not your typical jock or your ultimate party-boy. No, Quentin spends his time playing video games with his two best friends (who happen to be equally nerdy), Ben and Radar.
When Quentin was younger he used to be best friends with his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, who just so happens to be the most popular gal in school. Now as high school seniors, Quentin and Margo couldn’t be anymore different and haven’t spoken in years.
Until the night that changes everything….
(Note: This is the part where the book is supposed to get good, but it just doesn’t.)
Basically Margo busts into his bedroom window (original) and they go on a little “adventure” for one night, playing pranks of sorts on a variety of people. And then the next morning Margo is missing. And Quentin must find her. And he brings along some friends. And that’s basically all there is to it……
I don’t know. It just didn’t intrigue me at all. John Green is a phenomenal author so the book wasn’t painful to read, since he’s a good writer, but honestly? It was just boring.
When I put down the book and began to question why the heck I didn’t enjoy it, I narrowed it down to 3 basic complaints:
- I thought it was boring. And it wasn’t a love story; it was a mystery. (I don’t really like mysteries.)
- It was told from the perspective of a high school boy. A nerdy high school boy. I don’t know. I just didn’t relate.
- John Green kept switching up his tenses. One minute he’d be writing in present tense, and the next future, and then back to present. It annoyed me.
Bottom line: It just wasn’t for me. I still really want to see the movie though. I mean, it has Cara Delevigne in it! (Not crazy about kid from Naked Brothers Band though…)