Date Published: September 22, 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Source: Review copy provided by Bloomsbury India
Who is the real Margo?
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…
My View: I have a wonderful relationship with John Green. In short, I love him. My first audiobook that I finished listening to was Looking for Alaska. And not only that, I loved it. 5 stars loved it. Then I bought a paperback and then I announced my love to the world until a couple thousand more people bought the book on my recommendation (or so I hope). And then I read The fault in our stars which didn’t do a similar magic for me but was good nevertheless. Up next on my list were Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines, so I was thrilled when I got a chance to review this one.
For the record, I finished it in a weekend, a weekend which was really busy else it would have been less than 24 hours. So does that mean it’s good? Umm, not so sure about that. This one’s unlike John Green. In fact, so unlike him that I almost felt as if someone else had written it. I guess when you read the best work written by an author and then read his/her other books, it hits you bad. Because you storm in expecting a masterpiece but of course, no author can hit the mark with every single one of his/her book(s) and certainly can’t please every reader. So I kept an open mind and read on. The reason I finished this book quickly was because I wanted to get to the good part soon. Did it arrive? We will see.
There are three things Paper Towns makes me want to do – One is to read Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Song of Myself, and the other is to pick up The Bell Jar (a minuscule mention but I don’t know I just want to read it). And the third is to run away, escape and go on a solitary road trip. Hmm, how does that all fit in? I have no clue.
The book didn’t really grasp me either from the beginning or at the middle or even towards the end. It just went on and on and I kept on reading looking out for the silver lining. I wonder sometimes why are John Green’s central female characters eccentric? Is this how he sees women? Is this how women around him have been? Or is this is the way he likes his women? Ahem, well enough about John Green and his preference in women. Alaska, I loved. Margo? Nope. In fact, I might even hate her. Quentin, he’s cute but stupid too. I want to hit him hard on his head and drive him to his senses. I admire his perseverance and hard work but he really needs to face the truth. For the other characters, my perception changes with situations. Radar, I do like though. So John Green again presents us likable characters for the most part. And that’s some relief.
What I liked the most about the book was the road trip and that lasted very few pages. 😦 I wish it could have been longer. I also liked the unraveling of the mystery bit. And I liked some of his prose.
What I didn’t like was the abstractness. John green, you do not do abstract. I have not come to expect this from you. It boggled my mind and made me wrack my brains. Your books are a no-brainer, light-hearted comedy. And that’s what I was looking forward to.
But if I try and think how I would have felt had I gone in without the John Green tag, not so bad, I guess. I mean there was a story, some mystery, a few laughs, an adventure and well-developed characters. Not so bad, right?
I also did like the poetry bits in there and feel like solving Whitman’s unending poem like one does with a puzzle.
Overall, this book makes for a good one-time read in a leisurely setting. Don’t go expecting a John Green book and don’t expect it to hurry up and you will do just fine.
(All opinions expressed are my own and in no way influenced.)
Huge thanks to Bloomsbury India for providing the review copy.