Friday, 17 July 2015

Truths from Paper Towns



I read the book a week ago and watched the movie this morning, and I may have just found my new favourite John Green book.  Okay, maybe not.  The Fault in Our Stars was pretty difficult to beat.  I'd say Paper Towns is a close equal though, in a different way.  While Hazel and Augustus' story made me feel, cry and go crazy, Paper Towns had some relatable truths.  And isn't it just genius how John Green is able to incorporate real life lessons and philosophies into a story like this.


College: getting in or not getting in.
Trouble: getting in or not getting in.
School: getting A's or D's.
Career: having or not having.
House: big or small, owning or renting.
Money: having or not having.
It's all so boring.

So what, you're going to go to college, get married, have kids and then you'll be happy, when you're 30?  Is that what you're saying?  Isn't there anything that could make you happy now?

One of the themes Margo continuously brings up on their nighttime endeavour was what I thinks she meant as the idea of paper towns, besides the literal version with the cartographers and plagiarism and all that.  It's like the entire city is made of paper, all the materialistic things are paper, and all the people are paper too, just living like dolls or robots; school, college, marriage and the whole conventional life thing.  It's like people nowadays never live in the moment.

Everyone's goal in life is to be happy, so what exactly are we working towards?  I feel like most of us live in a daily routine, knowing what's going to be happening the next day, and the next year.  I'm not saying I'll ever be straying against that, but how did society become so mechanical.  How did life lose so much excitement?  Is the world better this way?


Here's a tip: you're cute when you're confident.  And less when you're not.

That's how people perceive people.  We're all pretty insecure on the inside, and a confident person makes us feel either intimidated or more confident, depending on that level of insecurity.  It's always the confident people that get attention.  It's them who are acknowledged no matter what.  It's them who get the loving goodbyes.  It's them who are respected.  When you're confident, you draw people to you, and people make experiences.  Basically, be confident; or act like you are anyway.


he was this minor figure in the drama of my life,
[but] he was the central figure in the drama of his own life

We could look at life as a movie, and obviously you're the main character of your own life.  Your friends and family are your co-stars, your boyfriend's the love interest, your worries are the dramas, and everyone else are just extra characters.  Sometimes, though, we get so caught up in our own movie we forget that we aren't the star of everyone else's.  What would it be like to be the star of your best friend's movie, or your mum's movie?  Remember, everyone else is a main character too, and they have their own dramas.



I get so intimidated by people I think highly of that I begin to act different.  Is it so hard to see them as equals, as people just like me?  They're not special.

I was the flimsy-foldable person, not everyone else.
And here's the thing about it.
People love the idea of a paper girl.
They always have.
And the worst thing is that I loved it, too.
I cultivated it, you know?

And here's Margo, the girl everyone thought was special and freaking perfect, talking about herself as a person.  She's saying that everyone likes the idea of her, but they don't know who she really is.  And in the movie today, she didn't know who she really was either.  I feel like this is relatable in a way, because describing yourself is ultimately difficult, even though you're the main character of your own movie.  We're all just people who can be what we want to be; paper people figuratively.

And Margo was someone everyone liked the idea of.  She created her own image because everyone wants people to like the idea of them.  Everyone wants to be thought of as special and complicated.  So I guess that in a world full of flimsy easily manipulated paper people, it's easy for someone to make people see them in a particular way if they pull the strings right.  Pulling the strings right is the art everyone wants to master.  And I guess in this story, Margo had mastered it.

So she ran away and took time to think, figure things out, be happy now rather than live a conventionally planned robot life.  It's a nice thought, although at the same time I reckon it's rather stupid.  Maybe I'm just too attached to the idea of school, uni, marriage.  Or maybe it's possible to fit living-in-the-moment into the schedule.


It is easy to forget how full the world is of people,
full to bursting,
and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined.

We're so judgemental.  We see strangers on the street or through a car window and immediately start imagining what their life is like.  We meet people at school or at work and immediately create opinions about them, as if we can read the full story.  The version of them that we know is probably someone entirely different than who they really are.  There are so many people, and we'll only ever really know a few of them.  The rest are simply misimagined.



The pleasure isn't in doing the thing;
the pleasure is in planning it

It's the hype that matters.  It's the excitement that makes you think it'll be fun.  It's the idea of the thing.  The actual thing can't be that amazing.  The only thing making it amazing is what you've imagined inside your head.


How can you separate those things though?
The people are the place is the people.

I really like this idea.  I mean, when we think of a place it's the people that come into mind.  Thinking of primary school, I mainly see all the people I sat cross-legged in class with, who I made memories with.  Thinking of the city I was born, all I see are the people I used to play skipping with, the people who were at my birthday parties.  Thinking of school, all I see are the people.  Every place just relates back to the people there because we attach people to everything.  That just goes to show that it's the people that matter, not the materialistic things.

Love,
M

24 comments:

  1. I read a few reviews and the story seemed sort of like the generic: "Live each moment to the fullest" thing.
    However, reading your opinion of it I'm beginning to think it sounds like a pretty great idea. <3

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    1. It kinda is about that, but it's also about the interesting theory of liking the idea of something rather than the actual thing. In the end it is just another teen adventure book though, but who doesn't love those? Anything with a road trip across America and I'm in.

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  2. I loved Paper Towns, possibly my favourite Green book (based on how real it was, like you said in your post). Green has a brilliant head on his shoulders, doesn't he? Although his writing is very calculated; he knows exactly what will sell to young adults. But anyway, sorry for going a little off-topic. I loved your post, it really reminded me of the things I loved about Paper Towns. :)

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    1. Thanks Jo. I like his writing style as well, just because he's quite frank and matter-of-fact, and he's just really smart and sarcastic and you're totally right; it's all about knowing what to give young adults.

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  3. I love this. I love Paper Towns and I cant wait to see the movie!

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    1. The movie's pretty good; a little different from the book in many ways though.

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  4. I've been meaning to read Paper Towns for so long now, but unfortunately my TBR pile is a little big at the moment *looks up at the TBR pile not scraping the sky and threatening to topple over*
    John Green is brilliant though, isn't he? It's like he can get inside the minds of a generation and voice their most inner thoughts....(though if he voiced mine it would probably just go like this; 'food-books-sleep-PLL-food')
    I'm rambling, aren't I?

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    1. Hahah PLL is a pretty big part of my thoughts as well though. Thanks for reminding me I still need to see that last episode. And I totally know what you mean by having a huge TBR pile. Mine's figurative because it's all in my head and I've lost track of all the books, seeing as I don't possess most of them. But yeah, definitely read Paper Towns.

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  5. This is now on my reading list. I loved The Fault in Our Stars and based on what you wrote here I think Paper Towns will be just as good!
    Vanessa

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    1. It's different as well though

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  6. Out of all of Green's books, Paper Towns is my favorite because of the strings of realism it portrays, especially trying to go for the best grades and imagining people being more than what they actual are to be-- I'm guilty of doing those things in my everyday life. It's insane.

    xoxo Morning

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    1. I'm guilty of doing all those things too. But I love that the whole good grades thing is actually addressed in this book, and it's actually a really big part of their lives. You don't see that too often in these young adult books.

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  7. I still haven't read this book yet, I am a big fan of John Green after reading Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska, so I picked it up a long time ago intending to read it, but it is still on the shelf waiting, I will have to read it soon as the movie is coming out and I won't be able to watch it..yet!


    Meme xx

    New Post:
    'A Month in the Life of....'
    http://thedayinthelifeofmexoxo.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. You most definitely do! John Green is a pretty great writer in a unique way, although I can't say I liked Looking for Alaska..

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  8. I have this book on hold at the library (There are about a hundred people ahead of me-- it's a very popular book!) I can't wait to read it.
    --Rebecca at The Silver Flute

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    1. I had it on hold at the library too, and I was 64th in the queue and these people took forever to return their books. In the end I spent $10 at K-mart.

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  9. For me, Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska will always be better than the Fault In Our Stars. Though I can't really compare the books because they work on different themes, you have to agree that Margo and Alaska are similar in some ways. They are both the live-in-the-moment kind of people that I adore and want to to be like.

    The quotes that you've mentioned are my favorite ones too. There's another one from the book that I really like, "It' so hard to leave until you leave- And then, it is the easiest goddamn thing in the world."
    This book is unlike any other that I've read.

    Maybe I should read it again. Thanks for reminding me, I'm looking for the book now. :P

    Love,
    Saee

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    1. I actually love that quote so much, but I didn't put it in because I guess I've never left anywhere before so I can't know whether it's a truth. One day I want to feel that way, but I'm scared as well. You could say I'm the opposite of Margo and Alaska, but is that necessarily a bad thing? Being live-in-the-moment sounds perfect and all, but there needs to be a balance. Margo and Alaska were effectively miserable. Well, Alaska was anyway. I guess being Margo would be pretty amazing.

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  10. Are you seriously 15? You're introspective beyond your years and you write exceptionally. I loved reading your thoughts on one of my favorite books since I was in high school. I'm currently writing an article called "And Then You'll Be Happy?"--so many great things to ponder from Paper Towns.

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    1. The post you're working on sounds amazing, because recently I've been thinking a lot about why we pour our lives into tests and scores when I feel like none of us are even aware of what the real goal is here. Is this mainstream life definition really the path to happiness? But what else can we do? I was watching this movie the other day and the girl says, "By the end of this my brain is going to be worth $500,000, and what am I going to do with it?" Thanks so much for your sweet comment Kamden!!

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    2. You're welcome! Check these links out, I think you might like them!

      http://theodysseyonline.com/kansas-state/until-you-leave/145093
      http://theodysseyonline.com/kansas-state/and-then-youll-be-happy/145094

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    3. Yes!! Thank you for giving me these. I really want to read that post

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  11. I read the book as well, but haven't seen the movie yet. Personally I liked it more than tfios, because isn't as sad and it has a bit of mystery. I love your writing style and how good you are at really reading books, I mean understanding them completely and finding all this amazing quotes and life truths. I'm also really happy to find your blog, because I am always looking for new books to read! :) xxx

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  12. Aw thanks so much. I wouldn't say I read books uber deeply, but I feel like this book deserved it.

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