Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Problematic 'Paper Towns'

Last week I shared that I was going to be participating in the BookTube Read-a-Thon. I'll be posting a wrap-up in the next couple of days letting you know how I did, but I couldn't stop thinking about how irritated I am with John Green's 'Paper Towns', so I wanted to get an individual post out about it. 

Margo is the BIGGEST Manic Pixie Dream Girl
The book is about her, but it's not her story.
I mean, Q even goes so far as to say 'I wanted Margo's disappearance to change me, but it hadn't; not really'

Quentin is pretentious
...Not Augustus Waters level pretentious, but he claims to be madly in love with this girl and isn't afraid to correct her every single time she makes a grammatical slight. It's nice to teach people, but don't be too cocky. 
Also, he doesn't seem to be able to get his head around the fact that he's not in love with Margo. He tells himself that she was "this girl who was an idea that I loved", but literally three or four pages later he's still confidently stating that he loves her... There's a disconnect.

It can get really uncomfortable to read. Straight away we encounter Margot appearing in Q's bedroom window with her face painted completely black, and then there's multiple derogatory uses of 'retarded' and jokes about brain-damaged babies... I shuddered multiple times at the language that John Green used. 

Because of those last two points, I've realised John Green should write for adults. Yes, young adult literature can have regular uses of 'one' and 'whom', but the language makes the characters feel archaic and stilted - that's the real reason that I can't connect with any of John Green's characters anymore. They don't feel like genuine teenagers

I'm glad that John Green only writes standalone novels and doesn't seem to be a fan of sequels, because the ending is ambiguous and leaves room for a follow-up. The big romantic kiss just as they're about to go their separate ways is cliched, but at least neither of the members of the couple die in this novel - it's a nice break from John Green's regular heart-stomping. 

And now for my thoughts on the film:

Why do Ben and Radar look so damned YOUNG?! 
I thought they were supposed to be seniors?!

Cara Delevingne shines as an actress
When Cara was cast I grumbled and groaned: most of the time if a model attempts to branch out into the world of acting it isn't a smooth transition. But you genuinely wouldn't think that Cara had been doing anything else - she's a breath of fresh air to watch, and you can visibly see her enthusiasm for the role.

"I have a brain, I'm going to Dartmouth.". Lacey's pretty and popular, and when she asks Q to tell her the first word he thinks of when he looks at her and he replies "beautiful", she's pissed off. It's a wonderful scene.

Q is a lot less pretentious. Film Q is so much better than book Q. Even if he does still proclaim love when he hardly even knows the girl.

Angela joins them on the road trip. Radar's girlfriend becomes a mentionable character, which is AWESOME.

However, the thing that is most mentionable - and definitely annoying - is that the plot is completely changed. They have to rush to Agloe and get back in time to go to prom. There's no terror about whether they'll find Margo in time, because she doesn't post the time she's leaving Agloe. There's much less tension, and it's not as effective as it is in the book. 

Also, Ansel Elgort has a cameo. Gross.

Other than the casting and the stupid, unnecessary changes to the plot, I actually enjoyed the film more than the book, so I'm giving it four stars.

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