Paper Towns: The Theory of John Green

paper towns

Hello, my beautiful, beautiful creatures! God, did I struggle with picking a book to review this month! And then it hit me. As you all may know, the Paper Towns movie is coming soon to every theater near you. So, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to share my feelings about this book with you. Prepare for a lot of rambling, indecisive, and illogical sentences.

I read this book a while ago now, in September of 2014, and then I reread it for the Essie Button #Buttonsbookshelf deal. But I do, quite vividly, remember that I felt really disappointed after finishing it. Yeah, it may be the fact that the only other John Green book I had read at that point was The Fault in Our Stars, so, yeah, I did have (as Dickens once said) great expectations.

I thought that the book was just…ordinary. A read about some ordinary kids in an ordinary town with an ordinary story, and nothing extraordinary ever happened in the whole book. It was much later that I realized this may be the whole point of the book; and, if my theory is correct, then John Green did a fantastic job! The book does an amazing job of showing us how easily we adapt to our current “not perfect” but “good enough” lives and how we live and waste our lives in a paper town, being too afraid to make the first step toward something new.

The whole point of the book, as I see it, is being brave enough to realize that maybe the town in which you live or your current life is too small for you. Maybe you’ve outgrown it and need the courage to start an adventure. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that we should all start packing our bags now and leave our paper towns immediately. There are a lot of you out there who have already taken the risk — who are living your adventures and fulfilling your ambitions right now. I’m also not saying that we should all be disappointed with our lives because — let’s be honest — there are way too many disappointed people in the world already, aren’t there? All I’m trying to say is that someday an opportunity will knock on your door (or maybe window), and you shouldn’t be afraid to live with it. You should totally take the risk and go, see, and experience the world!

I also think that John Green created unbelievably amazing characters, like Margo Roth Spiegelman. I found her character to be the perfect portrait of our potential. She’s the perfect portrait of our wildest dreams, our naive, little selves, and our own personal miracle, which can inspire us to do the most extraordinary things. We just need to be brave enough to follow her example and to follow our own miracles.

On the flipside, the protagonist, Q, is the average me and you — the average “everyman.” He’s the one who learns to live the ordinary life and is okay with the fact that his dream is being lived by someone else until that very moment when the opportunity knocked and he opened the window. From that moment on, his life was completely and forever changed, and so were the lives of the people around him. There’s no such thing as impossible; there’s just you and your brand new world that’s waiting for you to explore it.

Overall, this book is tricky. It leaves you disappointed for a moment, and then it slowly gets to you. You begin to understand that this book is so “ordinary” because it’s about you and me; therefore, it’s so extraordinary because it shows you your miracle. I would highly recommend this book to all of you out there, especially to my not-so-spontaneous friends, who — just like me — are waiting for something to happen to change their life completely. I wish you all find your own Margo Roth Spiegelman, and I hope you won’t be afraid to take her hand and live the adventure of your lifetime.


Check out the trailer for the Paper Towns movie adaption:


P.S. Thanks to Esteé, because reading this book for the second time made me realize all the “philosophical nonsense.” And thank you, John, for showing me the world. Again. DFTBA and proud of it.

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