Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…
Let’s begin with Quentin. Quentin is the very definition of a one-dimensional character. After finishing this novel I still have no idea who he is, but not in a complex way that makes him this wonderful character full of animation and vitality, the exact opposite is true for Quentin.
What are his likes, dislikes, favorite color, favorite food, what kind of music does he like, what movies do he enjoy, etc. Yes, these are trivial questions but those are the things that make-up a person.
Little things + big things + actions = YOU
All Quentin talked about during the novel was Margo. In the beginning it was how beautiful she was. I kid you not, every page mentioned her hair, eyes, skin, smell, and just overall perfection. It’s weird and kinda creepy for him to be this obsessed with a girl that he didn’t seem to care much about until this book started. But I was able to move past this after awhile and focus on the future of the novel – I wasn’t impressed.
FYI (if you care): For people who haven’t been to Orlando Margo describes downtown quite well actually. After living in Orlando for a year I know that it’s terrible, and her representation of Orlando’s homes is also accurate, certain sections are paper towns. S0, that’s a score for Margo.
The second part of the novel is really boring. Quentin figures out Margo is missing and soon gathers clues to find her. In this time he reflects on how cool she is, how eccentric and misunderstood (I call bullshit) she is compared to everyone else in the world. Hanging out at abandoned buildings and reading poems by Walt Whitman because she’s so down-to-earth. Soon enough Quentin learns that maybe the Margo he thought he knew wasn’t her, but someone else.
Q: Who is the real Margo?
A: Who gives a shit!
I realize that that answer is harsh, but the proverbial question of “who is Margo?” got old quickly. The real question I repeatedly asked myself was WHO GIVES A SHIT! Seriously, Margo isn’t interesting. She’s not too cool for school or some overly complex mind troubled by her past. She’s just an upper-middle class girl who reads Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, hangs out in abandoned buildings, and runs away a lot for attention. Could she be more cliche? I’m sorry, her extensive collection of records that include Johnny Cash is what really makes her unique.
Are you understanding my issue here? Now, I’m not trying to bash Emily Dickinson, Johnny Cash, or Walt Whitman – who I happen to love – because they’re not the problem, it’s how Green utilized these things as evidence that she’s so different. Until, of course, the end where she’s the same as everyone else. In the end I couldn’t buy what he was trying to sell, nor could I buy the ending and how neatly wrapped everything became. She was a spoiled brat – end of story.
The road trip portion of the novel was one of the reasons I relinquished and gave two stars. It was enjoyable and believable, especially to someone like me who’s been on MANY road trips.
Philadelphia –> Oklahoma, Philadelphia –> Florida, Philadelphia –> North Carolina, Florida –> Georgia, Florida –> Philadelphia, Philadelphia –> Washington D.C., etc.
The major problem Paper Towns suffered was making it about Margo and Quentin when he should have chosen one. Either Margo and her outer facade -the way she’s described is as if she’s this higher being with beauty, charm and majestic qualities, but there aren’t facts to back-up this claim – and the real her, or Quentin.
The end was supposed to be all philosophical and profound, a serious thinker, but it was just pretentious. Plus, where she ends up being is completely preposterous. I don’t really know what else to say. I can give a list of characters dimensions…
Margo – One-Dimensional
Quentin – One-Dimensional
Ben – One-Dimensional
Lacey – One-dimensional
Radar – Three-Dimensional (they didn’t mention him enough in the book)
Parents – One – dimensional
Entire high school – One-Dimensional
I’m sorry if this review wasn’t more in-depth but it took me forever to finish this book because it was soooo boring and self-centered. There were good moments but the bad outweighed the good by a large margin.