It was around three months ago that my friend recommended The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and I must admit I am eternally grateful for that. It is one of those books that can magically move you to tears whilst, at the same time, inspire a sense of hope and gratefulness for life itself.
It is of no shock then that the film adaption has equally been a huge success, aided by incredible actors such as Shailene Woodley.
Deception and Metaphors Galore
Spurred on by Green’s excellent storytelling abilities I decided to delve into one of his previous books, Paper Towns. Green tells the story of Quentin, a young boy whose life has been shaped by his fascination and infatuation with his next door neighbour, Margo Roth Spiegelman.
Quentin’s life has been somewhat ordinary and uneventful, that is up until Margo appears in his room one night asking him to partake in an all-night adventure of revenge and general badass-ness. This one night turns out to be pivotal for Quentin as the Margo goes missing the next day, leading him on a hunt, along with his two best friends, to track her down.
As they uncover more clues surrounding her disappearance Quentin is forced to face the crucial question: does he even know the real Margo? Without giving away too much, the book is all about appearances being deceptive, and how it is incredibly difficult to truly see another person for all that they are, a message definitely applicable to real life.
One thing I really enjoyed about this book is that it is divided up into three main parts: “The Strings,” “The Grass” and “The Vessel.” These metaphors all stand for different ideas on life: the metaphor which you choose ultimately reveals a lot about how you view the world.
“The Strings” reflecting the idea that once our strings break we are irreparably broken, and can never be saved or fixed. “The Grass” stresses how we are all connected and can ultimately use our connections to become another individual. “The Vessel” discusses how with time we all begin to crack, and it’s only through our own faults and losses (cracks) we can understand others.
Each part of the book reflects the metaphor it has been titled with, which adds a greater depth and meaning to the events that unfold.
An abrupt ending
The only one criticism I would give this book is that in my opinion it ended a little too quickly, with too much left unsaid, which whilst probably the point of the story, felt a little frustrating as a reader.
Despite this, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves an unconventional love story, with so many twists and turns you won’t be able to see what comes next. I was also excited to see that the this book is likewise set to make it on the big screen, with John Green himself as executive producer, so watch this space!
What do you think of the book? Have your say in the comments section below.
Image: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons