Looking for Alaska: Did or didn’t she?

Again a dark and sad novel by John Green brought in a magnificent way that makes you think about age-old questions mankind has been struggling with from the start.

Look at any religion and at their core you find the same essence. They all try to display a way out of suffering. Buddhism turns to meditation and reaching an enlightened state and monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam put their faith in one god and solidarity to lighten their burdens.

The central theme of “Looking for Alaska” can clearly be found between these parameters. Not only do the students follow classes with this theme, we are also asked the question; “How do we get out of the labyrinth of suffering?”.

That’s the mystery, isn’t it? Is he labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape – the world or the end of it?” – Looking for Alaska, p19

But are there correct answers? If to live is to suffer, don’t we just have to accept it and plough through as best as we can? These are all central questions that are never really answered, the reader has to think for himself.

This novel, “Looking for Alaska” was John Green’s first novel, written in 2005. A year later the book was awarded the Michael L. Printz Award by the American Library Association. It’s main character Miles is in search of “The Great Perhaps” and befriends Alaska Young. Alaska is a rebellious, dark and moody girl with regular fits of temper. And in one of those tempers she dies in a car accident.

The question however, was this really an accident or was this suicide? We accompany our main characters in a search for the truth, a search for answers. The main question at first glance being her probable suicide when they get to know more we realize however that this initial and main question isn’t the most important one for them. No, our main characters want to know what happens after you die (The great perhaps) and how to deal with sorrow, guilt and pain.

To wrap things up. I deeply enjoyed reading “Looking for Alaska” John Green really gets you thinking about the topics he writes about. Not only the main characters are on a quest for the truth but the reader as well. Whether you find the answer or not doesn’t matter, because these questions do not have a distinctive answer, however, they are omnipresent in life.


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