Published by Speak on September 22nd 2009
Who is the real Margo?
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...
John Green’s books run the gambit for me. You’ve got the good (TFIOS, OOKING FOR ALASKA), that bad (AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES) and the ugly (WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON). So where does that leave this middle book, PAPER TOWNS? Well, I guess somewhere in the middle.
PAPER TOWNS is nowhere near as boring as AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES. The main character Quentin is at least somewhat likable, as are his friends. The biggest issue I have with the manic pixie dreamgirl of a love interest Margo Roth Spiegleman. Even her name is obnoxious. And yes I understand that she’s supposed to make a statement. Nevertheless when she’s so unlikable I don’t see the quest to find her as a desirable activity. Without the reader wanting to find Margo (which I didn’t) the rest of the book kind of falls apart.
Margo is intolerable. She doesn’t care about anyone around her, she wastes all of her opportunities and instead runs off and has some kind of adventure. In a way I get it but her personality is just awful. She’s just kind of a dick.
The rest of the book is mostly quirky one offs. Collecting black Santas, the great white wall of cow, etc etc, its fun in the moment. Unfortunately it has nothing to do with anything. The random obscure concept that drives the plot of this book is the paper town, which the book is obviously named for. Rather than the famous last words or the weird anagrams, the paper towns are actually relevant. And interesting. Ish. Well moreso than usual.
If only Margo wasn’t completely awful.
Still, it’s a passible book, if a little dull. But I don’t want to read passible. I want to read good. I want to sob my eyes out at Gus and Hazel, I want to yell at Alaska. I don’t want to be pissy about Margo or talk about how the guys are “ok”. I want passion, and this book lacks a single ounce of passion.
So I guess I’ll go back and read Green’s better books and hope TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN will be among them when I read it in October. However, just in case I’ll get it from the library first. Just in case.
What did you think of PAPER TOWNS? Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments below.
From my shelf to yours,