Published 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. 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.
(Originally Read March 2010)
Miles Halter, otherwise known as Pudge for his lanky physique (sarcasm duly noted), was the perfect narrator for this story. His self-deprecating humor had me engaged throughout the entire novel and at times I felt myself responding to his mental dialog. For his junior year in High School, he decides to transfer to a boarding school at Culver Creek in his quest for a “Great Perhaps.” There, he becomes friends with the Colonel, Takumi, Lara and the girl he ultimately falls in love with, self-named Alaska. Alaska catapults Miles into his “Great Perhaps” through a series of sincere and revealing moments, good times, and eventually an event that will have him asking himself how he can find his way out of the labyrinth he’s embedded in. The second half of the book, known as ‘after,’ becomes an emotional journey of self revelation and a quest for the truth.
Green’s use of the chapter titles was brilliant to say the least. As I journeyed with Miles and laughed with him as he made new friends and experienced truly hilarious moments; the chapter titles never let me get too carried away, as they served as a constant reminder of impending doom. This book, for me, was reminiscent of John Knowles, A Separate Peace, and as with that book, Looking for Alaska will remain a story I keep in the back of my mind. Awesome read!