Looking for Alaska

One of the books I read this weekend was Looking for Alaska by John Green.  This is a heavily lauded book, meaning this post is directed to one of the three people who haven’t already read it.  (It used to be four people, but then I read a blog post about it.  More on that in a bit.)  I wasn’t going to write about it, mainly because I linked to it in my last post and figured you could read a synopsis and decide without my help whether it sounded like something you might want to read.  However (nerd alert), I just sat down to write an email to Susannah with some favorite lines of dialogue from the book when I noticed that Amazon now has the hardcover book at bargain pricing so I figured I would point you in the direction of a $6 hardcover book.  (I don’t know how long the bargain pricing lasts, so my apologies if the special ends by the time this post hits.)

I think you will like the book–especially if you are like me and believe the two best ways to become a great writer is by (1) writing daily and (2) reading great writers.  I won’t do John Green the disservice of a review, but I will direct you to Nathan Bransford’s take on the title.  As an aside, how good is Mr. Bransford at his job?  The man could sell books in a library.  I paid full price for that hardcover book not ten minutes after reading that post.

You can read excerpts all over the web (here is one) but one of my favorite lines of dialogue is between Pudge and Takumi at the onset of a intricate school prank.  (Note that I am one for dry humor.  There is adult language, so be forewarned.)

After five minutes, we split up to go to our destinations.  I stuck with Takumi.  We were the distraction.

“We’re the fucking Marines,” he said.

“First to fight.  First to die.,” I agree nervously.

“Hell yes.”

He stopped and opened his bag.

“Not here, dude,” I said.  “We have to go the the Eagle’s.”

“I know.  I know.  Just–hold on.”  He pulled out of thick headband.  It was brown, with a plush fox head on the front.  He put it on his head.

I laughed.  “What the hell is that?”

“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.”

It’s incredible dialogue not only because it’s funny (the fox hat adventures ultimately become sidesplitting, trust me) but also because it’s accurate. I can hear any one of the males in my life utter those same lines because, let’s face it, most men love to anthropomorphisize and speak in the third person.

Foxes aside, Looking for Alaska really is a great book, especially if used as a study on the craft of writing.  I read it in one day for pleasure but I will be reading it again–this time to learn.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    Probably my favorite book ever, and I’m looking forward to revisiting it for a class assignment in the next 6 weeks. And it makes me so happy to see unlikely people (aka anyone I haven’t handed the book to personally) finding the joy and mastery of Mr. Green’s writing

  2. frances says

    I also recommend Mr. Green’s book “Paper Towns”, which is ostensibly a romance chase kind of book, but is really about friendship. Love it.
    He just wrote a book with another of my favorite YA authors, David Levithan, which I haven’t read but hear great things about from my 8th graders.

    (You know I can’t resist writing about books!)

  3. says

    Carrie–I hope you like it!

    Jessica–I knew you read it! I even wrote this post last night thinking of you and your love of YA lit. Let me know how they discuss it in class.

    Frances–will definitely pick up Paper Towns. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. roni says

    will check it out. on the waiting list for the audiobook! was looking for book recs. my friend got me to join goodreads but feel so far behind. my resolution was to read a book every two weeks and already faltering :) audiobooks at work are the only way i can catch up!

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