Paper Towns, a John Green novel, recently turned into a film (2015), is a story about a boy who likes a girl. However, this girl is Margo Roth Spiegelman and is somewhat of a mystery to everyone she knows. After an all-night adventure, Margo disappears leaving behind clues for Quentin to follow. The book takes place in the last few weeks of Quentin’s school life adding further stress to the exams, prom and graduation.
Having never read a John Green novel, I was first introduced to Paper Towns at the cinema when I watched the film for a friend’s birthday. I enjoyed the film and decided to pick up the book. I first found the book to be quite slow (probably due to knowing what was going to happen thanks to watching the film first – oops). But once I got half way through (its only about 300 odd pages) I was enraptured and couldn’t put the book down.
The story, which follows a very basic structure unwinds in a very linear fashion (find a clue, follow clue, eventually find girl), frames questions about life, people and friendship. While it seems that the book is about Margo, which in a way it is, the story sees the development of unique and unusual friendships between different types of people as they come to the end of their high school careers. Many of which are brought together by the events surrounding and the disappearance of Margo.
I really enjoyed this book and urge you to give it a read if you haven’t yet. If you struggle through the first half, like I did, try your best to power through because I really did enjoy the ending. It was definitely worth the time and effort.
Here’s the trailer for the film (I also really enjoyed the film but it did follow a slightly different ending):
‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the one we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.’
‘If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.’
‘The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.’
‘We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity of duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defence’.
‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.’
‘I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human.’
‘I’m always amazed that people take what I say seriously. I don’t even take what I am seriously.’
‘There, in the chords and melodies, is everything I want to say. The words just jolly it along. It’s always been my way of expressing what for me is inexpressible by any other means.’
‘I’m not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I’m living on.’
‘I suppose for me as an artist it wasn’t always just about expressing my work; I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture that I was living in. It just seemed like a challenge to move it a little bit towards the way I thought it might be interesting to go.’
‘What I do is I write mainly about very personal and rather lonely feelings, and I explore them in a different way each time. You know, what I do is not terribly intellectual. I’m a pop singer for Christ’s sake. As a person, I’m fairly uncomplicated.’
‘I’m just an individual who doesn’t feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I’m working for me.’
Rest in Peace, David Bowie.
‘With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.’
‘You must do the things you think you cannot do.’
‘You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’
‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’
‘We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.’
‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’
‘Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.’
‘It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.’
‘It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.’
‘Friendship with one’s self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.’
‘It’s the ultimate goal every day you wake up, to be happy. At the end of the week, you want to be happy. Happy in love, happy in work, happy in life, happy with yourself. It’s pretty simple.’
‘Together we are stronger, our voices louder, and the synergy of our actions more powerful. Together we can prevail on the Navy to put common sense safeguards in place, like requiring its ships to avoid the most sensitive marine mammal habitats and to stop their training exercises during peak migrations.’
‘I love the ukulele. It’s got a beautiful, melodic tone to it. There’s something innocent and romantic, and it’s just a grand instrument to play.’
‘Be good to people, be kind to people, show up, read the lines, hit the mark, and go home.’
‘We owe it to our children to be better stewards of the environment. The alternative? – a world without whales. It’s too terrible to imagine.’
‘When people don’t believe in you, you have to believe in yourself.’
‘Some age, other mature’.
‘Perhaps I’m not a good actor, but I would be even worse at doing anything else’.
‘Love may not make the world go round, but I must admit that it makes the ride worthwhile’.
‘Laughter kills fear, and without fear there can be no faith. For without fear of the devil there is no need for God’.
‘I like women. I don’t understand them, but I like them’.
‘I left Scotland when I was 16 because I had no qualifications for anything but the Navy, having left school at 13’.
‘I haven’t found anywhere in the world where I want to be all the time. The best of my life is the moving. I look forward to going’.
‘There is nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in man’.
‘There’s one major difference between James Bond and me. He is able to sort out problems!’
‘I think you make the best with what you’ve got, you know? Sometimes you have very little. And you just always try to rise to higher ground, because you’re going to suffer one way or the other, so you just hope that you have strength and perseverance and good friends and faith, some kind of faith, to endure and move on to greener pastures.’
‘You can get totally messed up trying to please everyone with what you do, but ultimately, you have to please yourself.’
‘James Bond is one of those heroes that all guys feel they could actually be like.’
‘People should be allowed to marry, and gay marriage should be out there. If a man or a woman has a good partner and they love each other with their heart and soul, let them marry. I am very much for gay marriage.’
‘Love means that everything is right with the world. Love and only love. Love means that you are content within your own heart and in the presence of the person that you love, who fills your day and makes you stronger and wiser, and gives you the confidence to go out into the world. Love is just the most beautiful, joyous feeling.’
‘I realise how precious life is, probably because I’ve seen how it can be taken away.’