Sunday, January 22, 2006
Looking for Alaska
Green, John. 2005. LOOKING FOR ALASKA. New York: Dutton. ISBN 0525475060 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]
LOOKING FOR ALASKA is a coming-of-age novel starring Miles Halter and his eccentric cast of friends. Miles had always been different from his peers; for years he’d been searching for the “Great Perhaps” but he finally begins to understand the meaning of life when he ventures forth into the great unknown leaving his familiar home and school in Florida for his new life at a boarding school in Alabama. Miles, like all the characters in LOOKING FOR ALASKA, has his own eccentricities. Mile’s eccentric obsession—besides his love for philosophy—is his fascination with memorizing the last words of famous people. “It was an indulgence, learning last words. Other people had chocolate; I had dying declarations” (11). Miles, nicknamed, “Pudge,” is soon initiated into a close circle of friends including his roommate Chip Martin (the Colonel) and Alaska Young. It is his relationships with his friends—Alaska in particular—that will change his life forever.
LOOKING FOR ALASKA is at times laugh-out-loud funny as when Pudge and his friends are playing pranks on their peers or pondering the glory of the bufriedo, a deep-fried burrito. At other times, this YA novel is deeply touching as when Pudge and Alaska are discussing the meaning of life and what it means to truly live.
Discuss how John Green uses the philosophical concepts of the “Great Perhaps” and “the labyrinth” as plot devices in LOOKING FOR ALASKA.
Have several reference books available for readers to browse such as FAMOUS LAST WORDS, FOND FAREWELLS, DEATHBED DIATRIBES, AND EXCLAMATIONS UPON EXPIRATION by Ray Robinson or FAMOUS LAST WORDS: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION OF FINALES AND FAREWELLS compiled by Laura Ward.
Other books about death and grief:
Griffin, Adele. WHERE I WANT TO BE. ISBN 0399237836
McGhee, Alison. ALL RIVERS FLOW TO THE SEA. ISBN 0763625914
Woodson, Jacqueline. BEHIND YOU. ISBN 039923988X
By Becky Laney