There’s this very weird thing where people always associate me with Looking for Alaska. I mean, I don’t know why they’d think that. It’s not like I’m screaming and crying about it all the—oh.
I think it’s no secret that my all-time favourite book is Looking for Alaska by John Green. I’m constantly talking about how much it means to me, but why? Why does this book in particular mean THAT much to me? Today I’ll be explaining all of it (no spoilers of course) to you. If you need that last push to read this book, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to convince you.
Before I can properly start this blogpost, you have to know what Looking for Alaska is about. In John Green’s debut novel, our main character Miles is obsessed with last words. He’s going to a boarding school in order to find his “Great perhaps”, a reference to his favourite last words.
On this boarding school (Culver Creek) he quickly infiltrates with his roommate friendgroup that also includes Alaska Young. She helps him find his Great perhaps, so he can help her with escaping the labyrinth.
I already have two things to say about this: 1) No, the Alaska in Looking for Alaska has nothing to do with the state indeed (surprise huh?) and 2) I didn’t really know how to explain it but the labyrinth isn’t something magical or anything, it’s a reference to Alaska’s favourite book.
Now that you know this, let’s just begin with explaining the mess that is the relationship between this book and I. To give you a bit of a background: I read this two years ago (when I was thirteen) because I’d just started watching booktube and people were talking about John Green. It all sounded very interesting, so when my mom came to me and said she actually owned one of his books, I was beyond excited!
She owned the Dutch pocket book (the little one you see on the picture) and hadn’t read it herself. Even though it wasn’t the book I wanted to read (that was The fault in our stars, duh), I decided to give it a try. And oh how thankful I am for that decision.
But the book was such a disappointment? It was boring and nothing really happened and I was pretty sure this would become my least favourite book from that point on. The irony is present people! Looking for Alaska is split in two parts (before and after) though, and the before part just really didn’t affect me THE FIRST TIME AROUND.
Then I got to after and…Let’s give you a bit of the atmosphere. 13-year-old me was so done with this book that I decided I wanted to finish is as soon as possible. So I stayed up late, sitting in the dark with my desk lamp on this little book (which has really small letters). And then I got to after and I’d never cried that much in my life! It was hysterical crying, okay? That’s when you know it’s good.
I cried two WHOLE boxes of tissues that night. Can you imagine? I was just sitting there all night and I don’t remember a time I wasn’t crying (that was the first time I ever stayed up that late, but can you blame me?). Now that I think about it this is all funny, but in that moment I felt ATTACKED by John Green.
The big why
But why? The time has come that I explain this to you. There are obviously many hidden reasons that I don’t even know of, but there are a few things I know of.
I’ve always said this and I will say it until the end of times: this is not the best book I’ve ever read. If I look very theoretically at this novel, I’ve read books that are much, MUCH better. I know it and I accept it. However, because of the person I am and my experiences with life, this book has taken over a big part of my life.
I read this book in the most dark period(s) of my life when I really didn’t know what I wanted anymore. Looking for Alaska has some really important life lessons that I needed at that moment and that I’m still using today. It gave me a sort of purpose in my life, I guess? And hope. It gave me a lot of hope.
The characters were so flawed and realistic that I really feel like they’re my friends. They’re my crooked neighbours (+1 if you get that reference) and I connect with them on a level that’s deeper than it probably should be. In every one of them I see pieces of myself, a piece I didn’t know was there before.
But outside of all this psychological stuff, I also really like how well-thought through this book is. The pieces just fall in the right place and seem to find a way right to my heart.
It’s my safe space. It makes me feel understood and I know it. It’s reliable. It’s my everything at this point, one of my most valuable possessions I’d never want to part with.
This book is a piece of me and if anyone would ever say to me: “You are a complicated person. How can I get to know you better?” I’d give them this book without any hesitation.
So, as a conclusion, why is Looking for Alaska my favourite book of all-time?
“That’s the mystery, isn’t it?”Alaska Young
“But some mysteries aren’t meant to be solved.”Miles Halter