The main character in this book is Miles “Pudge” Halter. Pudge moves from Florida to a boarding school in Birmingham, Alabama where he meets a girl named Alaska. Pudge spends his time trying to “figure out” Alaska. Pudge has some terrible pranks pulled on him being the new student at school and during his free time he enjoys sneaking around drinking and smoking with his friends. Fiction- boarding schools, death
My take: 1 look
All due respect to fans of John Green, but you may not count me among your number. This is the fourth book I have read by Green, and can only recommend one (The Fault in Our Stars).
Let me start by saying that Green has a good niche with teenage girls and boys. It is very important to solidify a love of reading in the younger years, and Green seems to have tapped into this, much the way John Hughes tapped into teenage angst in his slew of 1980s coming-of-age films. Hughes spoke to my generation. Green speaks to today’s generation.
That being said, I found this a sad redo of 1999’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Perks is better written, more compelling, and less irritating (by far) than Alaska.
Alaska is the epitome of teenage angst. She is moody, spontaneous, insistent, volatile, and charismatic to all of the teenage boys around her. I found her to be extremely irritating and developed no sympathy for her whatsoever. When her fate was sealed (no spoilers here), I couldn’t have cared less.
The Colonel was just as irritating. Honor, retaliation and a sense of duty seemed to drive him. Unless, of course, these things were required of him. Then it seemed to be every man for himself.
Pudge, bless his heart, was at the middle of this gang of miscreants. He seemed to be so enamored by the other’s dominant traits that he just blew where ever their wind gusts carried him.
All-in-all, these characters were caricatures of the aspects of growing up a teen in a boarding school. Living in Alabama, I am very familiar with Indian Springs School, on which this was patterned. There is nothing flattering in here, I assure you. Nor is there anything compelling. Green must have hated his time there.
Not recommended. Read Chbosky’s Perks instead. You’ll thank me.