Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Speak/December 28, 2006
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.
Such a realistic, moving story. I was caught up rather quickly in Miles Halter aka Pudge's world that revolved around Culver Creek Boarding School. Miles' life, pre-Culver Creek, is dull with Miles unsure of where he fits in, or even if he fits in anywhere. That all changes when he arrives at Culver Creek.
Boarding school is a unique experience many of us can not lay claim to. For Miles Halter being sent away from his home in Florida to start his junior year of high school is only the begin of his self-discovery. It's a very real look at the life of a teen but these teens have no parents in their daily lives. The lack of parents gave the story a different feel, causing the teens to looks out for each other more than usual. Although, some readers may argue parents are not heavily prevalent in young adult stories anyway. In Looking for Alaska, the teens instead have "The Eagle" who acts as an enforcer of rules with little compassion.
I was surprised at how much humor is in this story even though the main characters of Pudge, Alaska and The Colonel all have their share, and more, of serious issues to deal with. I enjoyed Pudge's voice and his impressions of his new school and classmates. He's very accepting of people even though most of his life other kids have not been very accepting of him. The Colonel, as Pudge's roommate likes to be called, is blunt, sometimes to the point of hurtful but I felt his intentions, for the most part, were in the right place. Alaska is a force of nature. She's a character who seems to have this open personality, but once you catch your breath after she's blown through, you realize you know very little about her. Lots of reading between the lines with her.
One thing I liked about the characters is they are all very unique with their individual quirks. If you were to see them individually you wouldn't place them together as a group of friends since they don't seem to have anything truly in common. But maybe it's the uncommonness that not only brings them together but what holds them and forms them as this tight group of friends.
The only thing I had a problem with is the ending and the unanswered questions. I would have liked a greater resolution of the pivotal plot point.