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So I reviewed this a while ago.

*CONTAINS EPIC SPOILERS*

Looking for Alaska a brilliantly thoughtful debut novel by young American author John Green, it is a novel about teenagers; it discusses what they are really thinking and asking. It has been labelled ‘controversial’ by a society in denial, a society that does not want to hear what teens actually think and feel. One of the main recurring themes in the novel is overcoming suffering. In the following paragraphs I will discuss the author’s use of method, structure, tone, characterisation and figurative language.

The story begins One Hundred and Thirty-six Days Before; we meet the protagonist Miles Halter (aka Pudge, it’s funny because he’s skinny) a quirky teen so disconnected from other people that out of “social necessity” he sits with “a ragtag bunch of drama people and English geeks.” After his mother throws him a birthday party and nobody shows up he convinces his parents to let him go to Culver Creek, a boarding school his father attended. Thus begins his journey in search of “A Great Perhaps”.

Miles delivers a thoughtful first person narrative about the lives of teenagers, unlike The Catcher in The Rye’s; Holden Caulfield, Miles Halter is not full of shit and he has a bitter-sweet reflective story to narrate.

‘But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.’ –pg109

Looking for Alaska is broken into two distinct halves; before and after. The novel being structured this way is very engaging to a reader. These distinct halves revolve entirely around a life altering event toward the end of the book.
The first half of the book is quite light hearted, the main characters Miles, Colonel, Takumi and Lara are all getting to know each other and developing friendships, most of which revolve around larger than life character Alaska; a ‘clever, funny, self-destructive and dead sexy’ girl.
Together they plan massive pranks on the schools headmaster (the Eagle) and generally cause mayhem. They sneak off to smoke a thousand cigarettes, they get drunk, they beat box and get philosophical.
Then that pivotal life changing tragedy occurs and the novel takes a sad, disheartening tone as Pudge & Co. become disconnected amongst themselves as they try to deal with all the feelings heaved upon them.
Pudge withdraws into himself as he is completely overwhelmed. But as he and his friends keep moving and grieving and trying to understand the meaning of certain experiences. Pudge learns to appreciate those who are still with him rather than losing them too.
I believe that the novel ended with a hopeful positive tone, where Pudge gains a deeper understanding of life, love, true friends and self confidence.

‘We met and I held him, my hands balled into tight fists around his shoulders, and he wrapped his short arms around me and squeezed so tight so that I felt the heaves of his chest as we realised over and over again that we were still alive. I realised it in waves and we held on to each other crying and I thought, God we must look so lame, but it doesn’t matter much when you have just now realised, all the time later, that you are still alive.’ – pg254

Another factor, contributing to the success of this novel is the dynamically real cast of characters, which John Green has expertly created. Each character is so realistically quirky and all are from surprisingly different backgrounds. The most amazing thing about these characters is that nothing is unbelievable; they could all be actual people. For example;

Miles ‘Pudge’ Halter is tall, skinny and disconnected from people his age (at the beginning of the novel) ‘I never really excelled at small talk.’ He is fascinated by the last words of famous dead people.
Alaska Young is a wild, mysterious, self destructive girl who has a ridiculously large collection of books called her life library, she is continually adding to the pile in hope of reading them all when she is old and has nothing better to do.
Chip ‘The Colonel’ Martin is Pudge’s roommate, his father was an abusive alcoholic and his mother raised him alone in a trailer. He is a disadvantaged student on a scholarship program. He is obsessed with loyalty and honor.
Takumi Hikohito is a Japanese American who is always rapping with wicked slick rhymes randomly. One of the funniest things involving Takumi is the fox hat.

“What the hell is that?” I laughed.
“It’s my fox hat.”
“Your fox hat?”
“Yeah, Pudge. My fox hat.”
“Why are you wearing your fox hat?” I asked.
“Because no one can catch the motherfucking fox.”

Lara Buterskaya a Romanian student who has a brief stint at being Pudge’s girlfriend. A very memorable ‘blow job’

Looking for Alaska is also filled with figurative language, beautiful metaphors ‘if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane’ and countless literary allusions all interwoven thought out the text. For example the Colonels exclamation‘God I understand whale anatomy. Can we move on now Herman?’
The two most recurring allusions in the novel are Francois Rabelais’- ‘The Great Perhaps’ and Simón Bolívar’s –‘How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?’ Both of these literary allusions make the reader question the motivation of the characters and the meaning of their own lives throughout the book.

Looking for Alaska is an important novel as it deals with many issues youth of today must face. It is an inspired piece about overcoming suffering and grief about friendship and loss and choices we must inevitably make. It is about discovering who we are and who we can become. It is hilariously funny and heartbreakingly sad.

In the words of Pudge ‘After all this time, it still seems to me like straight and fast is the only way out – but I choose the labyrinth. The labyrinth blows, but I choose it.’

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one for the road…

Dearest World of Blog,

Holy Crap On a Cracker! (big bang inspiration there)

Life has been incredibly busy. Between the Hunger Games, Family events, College and all the associated work that you get to take home (because you have nothing better to do in your spare time, right?) I have literally had no time for anything enjoyable. Like blogging and making pretty pictures for it.

Right now it’s almost midnight and I’m writing this on my phone in bed because I am having issues getting work out of my brain for some peace and quite. I want to go back to reading whatever it was I tried to start last weekend before I got bogged down by History!!

Now I’ve realised I haven’t even had time to blog about how incredible I thought the Hunger Games were. All those feelings I’ve pushed to the back of my brain, to make room for historical perspectives of Cleopatra and analysing themes that occurr in Macbeth. I think before I open up a can of Katniss, I might read the trilogy again before I make any official comments (official, cause my opinion is so important. Ha, I kill me.).

I’m still thinking about Cleopatra. Popularly portrayed as a devastatingly beautiful Egyptian seductress, but in reality a not very good looking (just look at her face on her coinage, not very pretty)Macedonian, maybe even a diabolical political schemer. All that is good and fun to ponder, the suck however is inolved in the writing of the essay and discussing the differing historical perspectives and evaluating them within historical context. Or something similar to that.

#note to self – when I get some time one day… Do a post that unveils the top secret baby blanket that I built.

Until then.

Yawn.

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So I baked.  It was hot and tiring.  But it had to be done.  There will be more baking tomorrow morning too.

The cookies are Dark Chocolate and Ginger – I got the recipe from a cook book by Leila Lindholm called A Piece Of Cake. I don’t really like them, I’m not a fan of the ginger.  They are a present, I’m sure the recipient will like them because they are ginger fans.

You can see my Christmas Stick in the top left hand corner of the mosaic.  My man-friend said we didn’t need a Christmas tree, but the five year old inside me just could not bare to have a Christmas without one.

So I set out to find the perfect stick.  Which I did.  I then painted it a very pale blue.

I did however purchase the terracotta pot.  It wasn’t expensive.  I painted it red and put a pretty silver bow around it.

The turquoise coloured play dough which holds the Stick in place doesn’t have enough salt and bacteria killing things in it.  It is going smelly and mouldy.  I didn’t have all the ingredients for long lasting play dough 😦   But it only smells if you poke it.  So there is a no touching rule.

Handmade decorations.

Tired.

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In our lives we require bathrooms because in our society we don’t pee wherever we feel like, well then again some of us do.

Filthy dirty women out there I’m talking to you.  By using the terms filthy, dirty and women, I am not discriminating anyone here at all.  Whether you be a lawyer, a housewife, a cashier, a public servant, a baker or even unemployed I mean you.  All of you.  All of you who are female.

Now girls, women (not ladies, none of you deserve that title) here are some hints that you can follow to improve MY public bathroom experience.

  • I don’t care how you approach the toilet (whether you sit on the seat, squat upon the seat, or hover above the seat) if you get your bodily fluids anywhere but in the receptacle provided (for the dummies I mean the toilet) – PLEASE WIPE THAT SPILLAGE UP BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE CUBICLE YOU CREATURE!  I’m sorry but more people than just you need to use the facilities, you aren’t an animal you don’t need to mark your territory.
  • When flushing – stand there, watch your flush.  Make sure any evidence of your existence is washed thoroughly through the S bend.  None of us want to see it.
  • Finger painting – This shouldn’t even need to be mentioned, most of us who use public toilets are grown ups and those of us who aren’t should be supervised.  I only mentioned this because the bathroom at my work is employee only, to be employed you have to be over 15 or something right?  It’s just interesting to think, someone I work with is this foul.
    • Special note to parents – When taking your kid to a public restroom and your little darling does finger-paint with his/her faecal matter, personally I think it is your responsibility to clean that SHIT up.  Why the heck should any other human being have to clean up that. Teach your kid it’s wrong. 
  • Feminine Hygiene Products – I don’t care how you were raised at home, but I wrap mine up and put them in the sanitary bins that are provided in public restrooms by Hygiene Product Disposal Companies.  Nobody sees them, I don’t leave mine lying on the floor.  I don’t drop mine on the floor next to the bin.  Nor do I write my name on the wall whilst using one like a dirty blood coloured crayon.  NOBODY ELSE ON THIS PLANET SHOULD SEE YOUR GRUBBY USED HYGIENE PRODUCTS, NOR WOULD THEY WANT TOO!!! (For the dummies Hygiene Products = Pads, Tampons etc..)
  • The toilet seat – When you finish, there should be no evidence you were ever there.  No crumbs, no stray pubic hair, no spillage, no anything.  Just a clean seat for the next person.

In conclusion, if I came to your house and did any of this filth in your personal bathroom, would you be happy?  I think not.  Just because public restrooms are cleaned by a paid employee, does not mean you have the privilege of acting like some kind of urine splashing, shit hurling cretin.  Leave behind no evidence, not even footprints.  Flush.

And for heavens sake…

 

WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

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I only have 2 more presents to acquire.  They should be easy…  NOT!

I AM PRETTY FREAKING EXCITED.  Christmas is only 6 sleeps away.  I don’t even know why I’m so excited.  I’m 23.  Santa does not come to me, there are no surprises.  I don’t even have kids to play surprises with.

I have a ‘god’child, am I supposed to get it a present?  I’m glad at the christening ceremony I never actually promised to help the child on his path to God and glory, I kept silent and smiled and secretly promised to encourage more worthwhile pursuits.  Like reading and smart stuff that matters.  Stuff that actually counts.

He is TWO years old now.  Far Out!

Is it absurd that I considered a pressie for this little dear?

The ‘Manfriend’ on the other hand is having a pre-Christmas meltdown, I think he’s a little stuck on the ideal childhood Christmas, the one where you go on the holiday and everyone is in one place and it’s all just awesome because there are a billion cousins to run riot with and the likes.  He’s a little devastated that he has to drive from one family to the next.

He’s talking about evacuating for next Christmas.

Insert pictures for filler.  😉

[FLOWERS ON A TABLE]

[FLOWERS MAKING FRIENDS]

[TREE FINN]

[HAPPIEST FLOWERS IN THE WORLD]

[PRETTY FLOWER]

[MR BLUE TONGUE]

[I DON’T THINK HE WANTED TO BE FRIENDS WITH FINN]

Is now tired of listening to man’s Christmas hating and is feeling the negativity rubbing off onto myself.  Way to kill the cheer!

Even pretty photo’s can’t fix it now 😦

Stupid Stupidness.

Fat people!  Be warned, I will be manning the checkouts.  I’ll know what you’re buying this week, to eat yourself to death.  You fat, fat heads!  Christmas doesn’t mean you can work on your diabetes or your death from over consumption. 

As of tomorrow I will be officially disgusted, with the trolley loads of crapola people will be no doubt buying. 

Hey idiots, the shops are only shut FOR ONE FREAKING DAY!!!!

Over IT!

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