I picked up Looking for Alaska based on a recommendation from a podcast (yes, I tend to get a good chunk of my books based on podcast recommendations) and spaced it out in between a series of pretty targeted non-fiction tech business books. It turns out the story is extremely relevant as we discuss suffering, depression, and substance in our culture. How do we solve these problems and what about those of us left in the wake? I found Looking for Alaska to be a more thought-provoking piece of literature than I had anticipated. It explores suffering, searching for meaning, and love through the eyes of a group of teenagers.
It just so happens the boarding school this book was based on happened to be very close to where I grew up in Alabama. Coincidentally this novel resonated with me even more because of the proximity to my own childhood and teenage years.
The story follows a group of misfit high schoolers through their junior year at this rural boarding school as they search for meaning in their lives and studies. There are the typical high school pranks, studying, and mischief that is synonymous with youth while the narrative dives into meaningful concepts about the purpose of life, suffering, and forgiveness.
The Author, John Green uses a point in time to organize the book from a countdown to the critical moment in the story and then a ticker counting away from that moment. It creates subconscious suspense for the reader as you come closer to this pivotal point in the story and then brings you back to that moment as the story progresses beyond that point.
Ultimately Looking for Alaska will have you contemplating life, suffering, and forgiveness. How do you approach these situations in your own life and what is the point of it all? The characters are relatable and will have you recognizing those same fears you had during that time in your life.
If you enjoy an entertaining story that will also have you think deeply about your own life, then you will enjoy Looking for Alaska.