Discussion: John Green

February 22, 2016     erinthebooknut     Discussion, Feature, Opinion Piece, Rant, Uncategorized



John Green seems to be a controversial figure in YA, people either really love him or harbor a great dislike for him. Now, I certainly don’t worship the ground he walks on, but neither do I think he’s an awful human being. To me he’s a decent writer of YA who has an entertaining video blog with his brother. But to hear some people talk he’s the worst thing to even happen to YA.

Some of the things I hear run from understandable (though ones I don’t personally agree with) to absolutely ridiculous. Some people don’t like his books. Cool, that’s fine. I on’y really like two of them myself. I really enjoyed TFIOS and Looking for Alaska while An Abundance of Katherines bored me, Paper Towns annoyed me, and Will Grayson Will Grayson made me want to throw the book across the room. I personally like his writing style but some of his characters (particularly Margo) are insufferable. I can see though that his style is not for everyone.

I’ve also heard that people don’t like John as a person, even to the point of accusing him of purposely just being horrible. That, I don’t agree with at all. He’s a white male writer, he has privilege. But he also knows that and I think he does try to not be a dick about it. Tries. He’s also a man will mental illness, something not everyone understands. He has OCD and anxiety, a bit like me, so I can kind of relate to the guy. That’s a lot to deal with, especially when your life is so public. If you don’t know what anxiety feels like you can’t say you know what someone is thinking. If you haven’t experienced OCD you can’t say you’d deal with it differently. I’m sorry, but you just can’t. See him as a person first for a moment.

And yes, he is WAY too sensitive to the shit people say to him. And yes, he has lashed out in response. But you know what? So have I. Is it good? No. Is it wrong? Certainly. But the internet can be really foul  and I’m sure he gets some of the worst shit imaginable thrown at him. Sometimes someone hits one of your buttons, don’t tell me that you haven’t felt like throttling someone over the internet. I can’t say it’s good or that I respect it, but it happened. I just can’t sit there and say he’s a bad person when I know how much it can hurt. A person can make a bad choice without being bad themselves.

Then there are the wacky ones. The people who say he specifically sabotages people, that he uses his internet influence for evil, blah blah blah. I can only say I don’t see him that way. I can’t see him plotting to hurt people or whatever these people think he’s doing. He’s just a guy. A guy who talks to the internet and takes forever writing his next novel. He’s not an evil genius, just an awkward dude. Just a big ball of OCD wrapped in anxiety. Dude, I feel you.

Welcome to being human. Welcome to having flaws. John is not the God of YA, but neither is he Satan. He’s just another guy.

Now this is my personal opinion. You want to hate John, go ahead. I respect your opinion and I hope you’ll do the same for me. But don’t go around telling everyone why they’re wrong. I love hearing opinions, not a lecture about why my opinion makes ME horrible too. So share your opinion, good or bad, in the comments but be kind.

From my shelf to yours,


7 responses to “Discussion: John Green

  1. I definitely agree with all of what you’ve said. When TFIOS first came out I was 15 and I WAS one of those people who worshipped the ground he walked on. Since then I’ve read a lot of books and I no longer feel the same way, but John Green introduced me properly to contemporary YA, so I’m grateful for that.

    And I think John Green has just been a victim of the “mob mentality” of the internet. It really sucks how a single misstep (which is inevitable when you spend so much time on the internet) can be held against you for so long, and so harshly. Unless it’s someone like Kanye West, I will always have a certain amount of empathy for the mistakes people make online, as long as they’re willing to grow from it and rectify their mistakes.

    • erinthebooknut

      Exactly! It’s hard not to get defensive when you feel like you’re being attacked. Just because he’s famous and successful he gets more shit for it. I definitely think his books are a little overrated but I genuinely like the guy and that’s that. And I’ll probably read anything else he puts out just because.

  2. This is such a great post! I personally dislike his books, but I can’t say much about him as a person. I think his Crash Course videos are funny and helpful. My dislike of him comes from his books, specifically TFIOS. To me, the Anne Frank house makeout scene was disrespectful and invalidated the legacy of Anne Frank. I’m sure he didn’t have bad intentions writing that scene, but as a Jew, it offended me deeply. I have been known to rant about him on Twitter, but I would never want to harm him. I’m sure he’s a great guy, just a little pretentious and sometimes uses his fame to his advantage. He has also used his fame to do a lot of good things for charities. Again, great post!

    • erinthebooknut

      See and that’s a legitimate reason not to like him. And you’re still respectful. But some people really make me uncomfortable with the way they talk about him, like he’s the son of Satan and they want him to die. That’s so extreme for really anyone who is not actively harming people.

      As for that scene, it is HELLA uncomfortable, even for me. I never really understood it’s purpose, why it happened there of all places. No matter how in love I was I can never imagine myself or most people really feeling the urge to make out in a place like that. But I can see why it would actually be offensive to some people. Obviously that never crossed his mind.

  3. I don’t know what he’s done to lash out to other people, specifically bloggers. I haven’t really heard anything about him, but I’ve loved him through Crash Course and many of his books. I don’t agree with authors trying to get back at people who say bad things about them, but I can understand author sensitivity. He’s just a person, and he makes mistakes, such as the scene at the Anne Frank house. I doubt that he had bad intentions because he spends so much time helping to educate high school kids in history, among other subjects. Like I said, I haven’t really heard anything that I think warrants hating him.

    – Eli @ The Silver Words

    • erinthebooknut

      Oh a while back someone said something about him being creepy around kids or something and he made a fuss. Honestly, I’d be pretty peeved too, I mean he makes a living on selling books to young adults. He hasn’t lashed out at any bloggers from why I know, just people who same mean things about HIM as a person. He’s not shitty, just super sensitive.

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