Internet, it is 3:11 am and I just (as in about ten minutes ago) finished Paper Towns, the latest book written by the amazing John Green. Here is the basic explanation as to the plot (totally taken from the back cover of the book). Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
This book was released while I was in London and they do not publish in the UK which made me sad. It should also be known that I am a very impatient person when it comes to certain things so I really, really wanted this book. Tonight my mother and I were at the mall getting a few last minute Christmas gifts when we passed the Boarders Express. I pulled my mother in the store and started a serious search for this book. Or any of his books, really. We had just about given up hope when my mother saw it. On the shelf. In all of its beautiful glory.
Now I should explain. There are two different covers to this book, a “sad Margo” and a “happy Margo” and I’ll let you figure out which is which. I really desired to own the “sad Margo” but four months had passed by and my desire to own a copy of the book at all was winning over my desire to own “sad Margo.” But when you order online you do not get a choice as to which cover you receive, it is more of a “surprise Margo.” But I really deep down wanted “sad Margo” so I stuck with “sad Margo” or no book at all. Luckily, that was the only copy they had in the book store. I say luckily because I really wanted the book so much I was about to compromise and get whatever freaking Margo they had. I purchased “sad Margo” and all I wanted to do was sit down on the bench in the middle of the mall and read the book, but the mother figure would have none of that. So after dinner I ran up to my room and started reading. And just kept on reading.
I finished the book (305 pages) in a record 5 hours, with the occasional interruption (mainly in the form of a brother who would not leave me alone to read). I read the book fast because it was just that good- I had to know what happened. I had to find out the fate of Margo. I had to find out if the characters could make it on the road trip without getting a speeding ticket. I had to know what was going to happen in regards to the worlds largest black Santa collection. I just had to keep reading, not bothering to pause on the details. And while I read, all along the way I kept in the back of my mind the whole reason behind John Green having two covers. This was not some brilliant marketing scheme to entice readers like me to want to collect both covers. And yes, I do. John Green created two covers because no one ever sees the real Margo for what she is. Every single character in the book has an idea of Margo, and each person’s is different. Keeping that in mind as I speed-read over the slightly less important details, I created in my mind a little file about this Margo character. How no one ever really sees her face, whether she has painted it for some scheme she created, or her hair is in the way, or her sweatshirt is pulled up to her eyes, or how it is usually dark when people are around her. No one knows the real Margo, no one can see her. How Q thinks he sees her laughing, when really she is crying. She is constantly misinterpreted. I kept all of this in the back of my mind, because things like this fascinate me. All of that “English stuff” as John Green once said. Why the author chose to include that particular detail about Q not being able to see her face. Why the author chose to include that detail more than twice. Why there are two covers. This sort of thing is the reason I read. To escape from reality and entire the lives of these “paper characters” as Margo would call them.
I do plan on reading this book more times than I can count, lingering on all of those tiny details that will only make the story more awesome (if that is possible). I finished the book, sat it down, and said (out loud, to no one in particular) that I do not care for this Margo Roth Spiegelman. I do not like what she did and how she acted in the end of the book, which made me cry (the end of the book, not the fact that I didn’t care for her). But then I thought to myself, wow. You are doing what every single character in that darn book did. Misinterpreting her, judging her, trying to see her as something she is not.
While all of this may seem uninteresting to you, it is quite fascinating to me. I am going to have to read this book so many more times before I can come to a judgment on Margo. She is a complex character; one that can not be judged simply by one fast, excited read through. She needs special attention. She is real. She is amazing, adventurous, scared, a huge ball of emotions all wrapped into one. And even though I said I disliked her after my first reading, I think she is quickly going to become one of my favorite literary characters.
***And for those of you who have alread ready this awesome book or are going to go read this awesome book- pg. 266-272 (aka Hour 12) FREAKING EPIC. By far the best bit of the entire book. I was in tears I was laughing so hard.***