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Reading all of John Green in Whitebrook

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The book: Paper Towns, John Green

The place: my parents’ house, Whitebrook

There’s been a lot of palaver about adults reading young adult novels recently, thanks to this article in Slate, which, let’s be clear, I think is a lot of codswallop, the sort of irritatingly provocative article written primarily for the purposes of provocation. The thinking behind it seems to be predicated on the idea that young adults – children and teenagers – aren’t really real people, that their world is somehow emotionally and intellectually circumscribed. John Green makes the point himself (…somewhere on the internet) that teenagers are (often) enormously intellectually curious and voracious, far more so than a lot of adults, and that’s certainly my recollection of being that age myself. Anyway, I am just extremely wary of any article that purports to tell people what they should and shouldn’t be reading, because clearly reading is the Best Thing Ever (equal to travel) and people should be reading whatever gives them joy and excitement and engagement and whatever else they want to get out of reading. No shame, adult YA readers! No shame, readers of romance or fantasy or books about sparkly vampires or Fifty Shades of Grey* or indeed anything else! Read what makes you happy and screw everyone else.

All of which is to say: I read The Fault in Our Stars back in 2012 (in an Istanbul hotel, where I was staying unexpectedly after being booted unceremoniously out of Uzbekistan), loved it, and then forgot about John Green until just now, when I got the irresistible urge to download and consume his entire oeuvre (Looking for Alaska, Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Paper Towns) over the course of a couple of days. It was great – though I am not convinced that Green deconstructed the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope as much as he thinks he did in Paper Towns.

*Though maybe read Fifty Shades of Grey in full awareness that the central relationship dynamic – as with that of Twilight – is pretty messed up and abusive, rather than the Most Romantic Thing Evarrrrrrr.


Written by Jess

June 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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