10 Words to Live By from Alaska Young and Margo Roth Spiegelman

Looking for Alaska x Paper Towns

I’ve been a John Green fan way before the big hype on him, and way before the The Fault in Our Stars movie had girls wishing they had a cancer love story. I’m being a defensive hipster here but in one way or another, you might have felt the same way when something special you’ve kept only to yourself got out and exposed itself naked-with-all-its-glory to the world. And now your favorite book/movie/song/band/heck even your boy-crush is now the fave of n other insignificant squealing girls. *cue Sam Smith’s voice in the background: “I know I’m not the only one.”*

So when somebody recently asked me if I’ve read Paper Towns: “Bitch, I’ve read and reread that book. I’ve inhaled Paper Towns!” Yeah, I’m the one being a bitch here and she probably may have liked the book as much as I did, but still, I’m thinking: it’s the movie. They’re making a movie, it shall be overhyped, MY precious Quentin is played by MY precious Nat Wolff, and Cara Delevingne’s pretty and all but she’s gonna make all the other insignificant girls wail over MY guy. And MY book and MY life. So I shall be here slumped in the sofa, trying to fix my It’s complicated relationship with John Green and his characters.

It was high school. Damn it. Looking for Alaska was the book I read in senior year when I was sure of what I wanted for college, for work, for the rest of my life. It was weird how secure I was of what I wanted and what I knew, when everyone else was confused. But still, I felt like I was floating. Is this all there is? And that’s when Alaska Young came into my life, and I’ve never felt more attached to a character– sans the hot bod and all. The feels though. She was so sure, and so unsure at the same time. And I wanted to find the Great Perhaps just as much.

Margo was another story. She was the girl I wanted to be. She is the girl I think of when hearing “I wish that I could be like the cool kids. All the cool kids, they seem to fit in.”  She turned me to a wanderlust. I took the book’s words seriously: “Get Lost. Get Found.” And as much as my mom tells me that I am brave, I don’t feel like so. Or not enough. I wanted her guts.

In a nutshell, Alaska and Margo had some big words coming from their mouths despite their good looks and attitude issues. So moving on, here’s how they (or John Green, actually) changed me:

10 Words to Live By from Alaska and Margo

  1. “That didn’t happen, of course. Things never happened the way I imagined them.” Not even when you think you’ve got everything figured out.
  2. “My heart is really pounding.” “That’s how you know you’re having fun.” If so, I want my heart to go haywire.
  3. “At some point, you just pull off the Band-Aid and it hurts, but then it’s over and you’re relieved.” Sad story. True story.
  4. “It always shocked me when I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought and felt such strange and awful things.”
  5. “Forever is composed of nows.” ❤️
  6. “Jesus, I’m not going to be one of those people who sits around talking about what they’re gonna do. I’m just going to do it.” Regrets never last as long as you think they would.
  7. “I may die young, but at least I’ll die smart.” And this is why I have more books to read than fucks to give.
  8. “The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle.”
  9. “That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.”
  10. “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Go.

PS. Something ’bout me: I reread Looking for Alaska every summer since that senior year. And I’m writing this as I’m halfway through reading it again for this year. Now at senior year college, I’ve never felt more lost, but I’m okay with it.

PPS. I have a Goodreads account here.

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