Let me first just say how much I love this book’s cover. Secondly, let me just say I finished this book in a day.
I read this book on the recommendation of a couple of friends. I had loved John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, and for once I actually had time on my hands to start reading, so this was my solution.
In a lot of ways, I liked this book better than The Fault in Our Stars. I think part of the reason I loved the characters so much in that book was because they were so perfect, so lovable, and literally the symbol of perfect humanity. Of course, like any good characters, they had their faults and their qualms, but Hazel and Augustus had nowhere near as many faults as Q and Margo did. I really loved how Paper Towns addressed the concept of underlying problems and imperfection although the surface is pristine, something which The Fault in Our Stars didn’t do.
Throughout the book, Margo uses the metaphor of strings breaking to describe how she feels and how her life is falling apart. Q comments on this by saying that there are many different metaphors one can use, yet Margo tells him that she has always liked this metaphor the best.
Personally, I have always preferred the metaphor of a glass case or an ice sheet: it’s perfect and unscratched on the surface, but if you look just a little bit deeper, maybe on the back, you’ll find the cracks spreading through, like a spiderweb, reaching out until they finally and completely break the glass.
I think Margo’s metaphor of the strings exemplifies how different she is from other people. It may just be me, but strings breaking is not the first thing that occurs to me when I think of metaphors for breaking down until you’re completely broken down. It just hit me how Margo was so normal, and then, all of a sudden, she wasn’t.
From the glimpse we see of her at Q’s window, breaking into SeaWorld, and disappearing without a trace, I got the impression that Margo was a rebellious, badass, sarcastic, and rather classy ninja. But as Q learns more about Margo through the clues she leaves and the way she acts, my perception of her changed from classy-ninja Margo to cracked-broken-runaway Margo.
I guess the thing I loved most about this book was the truth that was just written so very plainly in it. We are different to so many people, because of the way we act around every one of them. So we’re not just one person. We are so many different people, and when we look at all of our selves, it is hard for even us to tell who we really are.
When I first began reading this book, I thought that the author didn’t tell us enough about Margo; she seemed so shifty at first, unlike the rock-solid personality many of the other characters display. Now, I see why. I also questioned Q’s willingness to follow Margo after she disappears, but I now understand how it fits in with his personality; he feels that Margo is speaking to him through the clues she leaves, and after admiring her from afar for so many years, he finally feels this mysterious girl is actually communicating with him. He believes she has chosen him, out of all the people she knows, to come and find her.
Even with that said, the characters weren’t especially moving, and I think it was the universal truth that made this book so good.
In a way, the book didn’t seem very resolved at the end, but it wasn’t a fairytale ending, in which all of the characters live happily ever after. That’s something I have always liked about John Green’s books: they are love stories, but they are anything but fairy tales. They identify universal truths and problems, and I think sometimes one man just can’t offer a solution to all of those things.
In a nutshell, the book is moving, and I’d recommend it to anybody who enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars.
And, if you haven’t read Paper Towns yet, here’s a back-cover type blurb about it:
Margo Roth Spiegelman just seems so perfect, in every which way. She’s popular, she’s got a boyfriend, and she’s pretty. She’s the stuff of legend: joining circuses, running away from home, loving mysteries, and being an all-around badass. So that’s why nerdy, grammar-loving Quentin is surprised when she shows up at his window in the middle of the night, on a quest for a revenge.
In the events following their all-nighter, Margo disappears, and becomes a mystery herself, leaving Q clues to help him find her.
Rating: 3/5 Wagging Tails