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Paper Towns - Thoughts

Sunday, October 18, 2015
Paper Towns, a novel by John Green, seems like the coming of age, typical young unrequited teenage love kind of book, but in fact it's so much more than that. It centres around the main character- Q (Quentin) and his last high school days. He has been in love with the adventurous girl next door- Margo Roth Spiegelman- all his life and they spend one amazing night together pulling pranks and getting up to mischief. The next day, she leaves town and Q makes it his mission to find her again.

How did you feel after reading the book? 
I felt a sense of attachment to the characters, I could relate to both Q and Margo. As I've read this book a few times now, the first time was a few years ago and my opinion on the book has differed each time. This time as I'm at a different stage of my life, I agreed with Q- the sense of routine, going about things one day at a time and building for my future. However, as I'm quite a flighty person now, I really understood the feelings that Margo had, 'It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.' Everytime I think of going to another place, this is what I feel like, moving from the UK to Hong Kong seemed difficult, but when it happened it felt like a piece of cake.

Another theme of the book was that people are complex, which really was something for me to accept. People are just as complex as I am, and the people that we adore the most are just people too, they are the same as you and me. If you idolise them, you're disappointed if they let you down or don't give you the response that you hoped they would do. 'What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.' There are some people that I might imagine how I think they are, but I'm surprised when they reveal what they are like. At the end of the day, they are them and they are not some figment of your imagination.

Margo also emphasised another important point to me and that was we are slaves to routine and planning for the future. 'And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future' I'm a slave to this too, constantly thinking about the future, what can make us happy for it? We should really live in the moment, in case the future never arrives.


Paper Towns is a mix of romance, comedy and mystery.

What I liked about this book is that it's not your typical chick-flick romance, but rather it's a realistic reflection of what relationships are like in the most beautiful way and painful way. Beautiful because your world can be lit up by this one person, but painful because by mis-imagining them, this could all go away.

Paper Towns made me think about identity and how much we really know a person. Heck, maybe the question should be how much do we even know ourselves? How much of us are just paper-moulded - a creation of the expectations of the people and the society around us - much like a Paper Town on a map, and how much is what we really want.

Margo's character is quirky and daring, to the extent that she becomes the highlight in many people's eyes for living what seems like the perfect life. But I believe what her friends and readers find so magnetic about Margo was not her looks/popularity, but her authencity and how much she loved life. I think she loved life because she never stopped to try to find the meaning of hers.

One of my favourite quote in Paper Towns is "It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and constantly mis-imagined." To me it means that more than one individual you  meet in your life can be fascinating, if you'd open your eyes and heart.


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