Review Of The Novel 'Paper Towns' By John Greene

John Green is an American author, vlogger, a producer and educator, who has written many bestsellers such as 'The Fault in Our Stars', 'Looking for Alaska', 'Turtles All The Way Down', 'An Abundance of Katherines' etc. Like most of his works, Paper Towns is as heart-wrenching and very well written. John Green has given a lot in the young adult fiction genre. And the thing about him is that he takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster that plays with every emotions.

‘Paper Towns’ was exactly like I expected. It was full of breath-stopping moments. Moments that made me hang on to every word. Moments that made me laugh so much that I had to leave the room. Moments that made me pray for the characters’ lives. I did not want it to end without it answering a lot of my questions. And, of course, the characters were able to entangle me in their ventures.

There is this geeky boy who is love with this girl who is unpredictable and mysterious, who has sidekick best friends who at times are much more interesting and likeable than the geeky boy and the girl. And let’s be honest, sometimes the side characters have much more dimensional than the main characters.

“The town was a paper, but the memories were not.” (Paper Towns, 2008)

At first, it seems like the title means that it is a story based on a town made of paper. But turns out, it is an actual term. Paper Towns, by definition means, unbuilt subdivisions and copyright trap towns that tend to appear on maps but in reality do not exist. While the story is set in Jefferson Park, which is fictional, the paper town that’s mentioned is an actual place.

“What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person.” (Paper Towns, 2008)

The main characters; Quentin ‘Q’ Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman, are like paper towns. Both characters seem to be non-dimensional characters. Everyone seems to think that these two characters are exactly like what they seem to be like, but there is more to what meets the eye.

“She loved mysteries so much that she became one.” (Paper Towns, 2008)

“She’s somewhere by herself having the kind of fun we can only imagine.” (Paper Towns, 2008)

Margo Roth. She loved adventures. She used to go to these epic adventures and every summer, her adventures would blow through their school like a storm: someone in Mississippi taught her guitar, she travelled with the circus, she drank herbal tea with the Mallionares and then rejected the bassist of the very band. She only had a physical presence at the beginning of the book and the last part of the book. But, she's mentioned a lot between. Margo Roth was an overrated character. The book seemed to revolve around only her and not much about other characters when she wasn’t even actually present there.

“Maybe she deserved to be forgotten. But at any rate, I couldn’t forget her.” (Paper Towns, 2008)

Margo Roth was meant to be forgotten. She always went on adventures without telling anyone. Why would this particular adventure be any different? There were characters, who deserved much more attention that she did. But, I couldn’t forget her. You know why? Because of my dear boy, Q, who wouldn’t stop talking about her. He always had to bring her up. I mean, the whole book is about Q finding her. So, him bringing her up is only natural.

“I must ask the wounded man where he is hurt because I cannot become the wounded man. The only wounded man I can be is me.” (Paper Towns, 2008)

“You had been a paper boy to me all these years - two dimensions as a character on the page and two different, but still flat, dimensions as a person. But, that night you turned out to be real.” (Paper Towns,2008)

Q is the typical rom-com geek. He is childhood friends with the main girl character and then in their teen years, the two are in entirely different school cliques and social status.

Then as the plot builds up, Q’s character development intensifies. He goes from being a scaredy cat to a person who spends his prom night in an abandoned mall. He goes on to skipping his graduation to go on a twentyone hour road trip from Orlando to New York. He comes to learn that people are more than what they are. He was so obsessed with finding hints and clues on his quest to find the “real” Margo, that he kind of did not realize his new found bravery. And in a way that’s what Margo wanted. She wanted him to be brave, like the Q she used to write as a child. That’s why she took him for the adventure of his life for one night and unconsciously helped him make decisions he would never make.

“In the end, it reveals a lot more about the person doing the imagining than it does about the person being imagined.”(Paper Towns, 2008)

Paper Towns made me think a lot about how people can sometimes be a different version of how they are like in reality. There were so many truths in this book, that I couldn’t help but relate to the characters. The book also helped me accept the fact that people leave eventually, and it does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. This book made me realize a lot of things not only about people but about me as well. I would highly recommend this book to everyone. This a masterpiece and most certainly my favourite among the John Green books, I’ve read so far.

16 December 2021
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