When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into the cracks and I saw into yours. — John Green, Paper Towns

I don’t know how to start spilling my thoughts about this brilliant, endearing and witty work of John Green but let me tell you that this book, Paper Towns by John Green, slapped me tons of realizations in life. I mean, I got some issues too just like the characters in the book and man, the guy (John Green) knows how to get to the heart of the readers and their issues.

Quentin Jacobsen, or Q for short, has this secret admiration to this great, adventurous, almost perfect, put-an-awesome-adjective-here girl in the neighbor named Margo Roth Spiegelman. They’ve known each other since they were 2 and now that they are high school seniors, they have their own social statuses — Q is just your regular nerdy guy with nerdy friends and Margo Roth Spiegelman, whose six-syllable name was often spoken in its entirety with a kind of quiet reverence, the queen bee, the girl girls wanted to be, the girl guys want. One night, the adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman unusually showed up on Q’s window dressed like a ninja and picked him to be a companion for this 11-step revenge trip. It’s the best night of his life! It’s his first time to be in this kind of entering and breaking into random houses and also with Margo Roth Spiegelman. He thought they will be friends again and everything will be alright but no, he’s so wrong. The next day, Margo Roth Spiegelman went missing. She did it again. This time, it’s Q’s turn to find her and he’s not going to fail Margo Roth Spiegelman.

I read his other book, The Abundance of Katherines, last year and I noticed that there are some resemblances with the elements — a nerdy, thoughtful guy as the protagonist who is secretly in-love with an almost-perfect unattainable girl who isn’t seen who she really is,  the funny, supportive sidekick/s and lastly, the road trip. At first, I thought they are just some regular characters, nothing remarkable with them but I am completely wrong. Man, these people are real people. Let’s face it, they represent each and every one of us (don’t tell me you didn’t relate with them or I’ll punch you in the face), we are also facing such issues and self-discovery in a time of our life. The characters are so interesting that I want to read  versions of this book in the eyes of Ben, Radar, Lacey and Margo Roth Spiegelman. There’s more about them.

I love how John Green tackled about people. We often see them as someone we expected to or imagined to be, we never or rarely see who really a person is.  Maybe because that’s what people are showing. They shut their real selves from the world, and made another dimension/personality to fit in the crowd, for the people to like them. You think they’re happy? No, they’re sad and empty. Just like Margo Roth Spiegelman, she has her own struggle of being liked the person she is not. Perception and reality of her persona is so close to each other and people doesn’t see which is which. (This paragraph is so sad).

I like the last part of the book especially the metaphor of us being a watertight vessel. This quote explains it all:

Maybe it’s more like you said before, all of us being cracked open. Like each of us starts out as a watertight vessel. And these things happen—these people leave us, or don’t love us, or don’t get us, or we don’t get them, and we lose and fail and hurt one another. And the vessel starts to crack open in places. And I mean, yeah, once the vessel cracks open, the end becomes inevitable… But there is all this time between when the cracks starts to open up, and when we finally fall apart. And it’s only in that time that we can see one another, because we see out ourselves through out cracks and into others through theirs. Before that, we were just looking at the ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”

The ending is bittersweet and man, it made me cry.

Well, in this book, there are a lot of things to discuss and I can’t put it all in one review and one-time read.  It made me laugh, cry, reflect and relate strongly to the characters. This book deserves a round of applause. This is a brilliant, captivating, engrossing (too much adjective! haha) work.

Book#5 for 2011

Paper Towns by John Green

Bookmarks: 5/5

My copy: Hardbound; from National Book Store

This entry was published on 18.01.11 at 3:09 pm. It’s filed under In Which I Write About Books and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into the cracks and I saw into yours. — John Green, Paper Towns

  1. Glad you love it!! :)

    And I have to add something to the very sad paragraph you’ve written above. Sometimes we pretend to be someone else were not to protect ourselves. We keep our real identity for not to be hurt. It takes a lot of courage to present yourself as you in the real world, because by showing them that identity of yours, you are also opening yourself to all the things they can do to you. They can love you or hurt you. It’s a risky thing so a lot tend to adapt a certain persona so other people cannot hurt them directly.

    Beautiful review! :)

  2. Pingback: “The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for it.” — Morgan Matson, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour « I WRITE, THEREFORE I AM ALIVE


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