Paper Towns, the Witches, and a Wilde Play


For the next month I’ll be posting triplet reviews every week or so. In order to catch up to my reading goal of the year, I decided to boost my number of books read by participating in my own 30 Day Reading Challenge, or whatever. So, for these thirty days I will be reading 15 short and medium length books! (Two days per book because I read slow…) And here are the first three things I read.

Paper Towns

…Another John Green novel!

As expected, this was a fun, light read, mostly comprised of things that impressed me and things that didn’t. (No summaries provided here, sorry, go to Goodreads. Just criticism. Brutal.)

I was impressed by several things, starting at 1. The cover design. No girl faces, no, no, no, no. The red pin in the map. Yesssss. Which leads me to 2. The concept of paper towns, both Margo’s initial mention and the meaning of the phrase as it is revealed throughout the book. 3. The idea of Margo, and 4. The clues, the process of looking for Margo, and especially 5. how John Green wove Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass poem into the message of the book, including 6. the three metaphors. The Strings, the Grass, and the Vessel.

That’s a relatively long list! 🙂 Some things did not impress me as much. Particularly 1. Quentin. His character was disappointingly similar to John Green’s other male characters. In fact, he was just another prototype of Miles from Looking for Alaska, except that one was more sophisticated. Also, 2. Margo’s character development, or rather the illusion of one meant to mask the absence of thereof. At the end, we, Readers, are supposed to see as Q sees that Margo is not the person she was trying to be for everyone else. However, not only is her true persona explained rather vaguely through the process of looking for and finding Margo, but we aren’t given a broad enough view of how Margo presented herself to everyone else before the grand disappearance. Or at least that’s how I felt: the effect would have been strongly if Margo’s character was a bit more solidified, both as it used to be or never really was and as it always was, deep down.

Well, six to two is not an awful ratio and I did enjoy the novel! Also, big bonus: romance was not the essential driving force behind Quentin’s interest in Margo. Yay, thank you. YA novels are always so centered on the theme of love, which although so important is much too often misrepresented in this genre.
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The Witches

As a child living in a non-Western country, I had no idea who or what Roald Dahl was. Well, I missed out on a lot of great stories!

Roald Dahl has such an artless and unpretentious style of writing, that when I read his novels I can almost see him sitting in a chair, just making it up as he goes. Storytelling. He definitely is a great storyteller.

As for this story, sixteen-year-old me enjoyed it! And sixteen-year-old me knows that even five-year-old me would have probably enjoyed this. But I was never a very scared child… I cannot speak for all children who pick up this book. Too scary? …Um, maybe. A lot of reviews on Goodreads chanted in unison “TOO SCARY FOR CHILDREN, DO NOT LET YOUR KIDS READ THIS”.

Would I let my children read this? Definitely.

Perhaps, yes, this book is meant to scare every little girl and little boy when they see a woman with an itchy scalp, gloves to her elbows, and fire in her eyes. And if it does — it performed tremendously! Books are supposed to make their Readers feel things. Also, it’s called imagination, everyone. Every child has a greater dose of it than most adults, and if they believe this book — amazing! Then, they probably would enjoy the reading experience.

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The Importance of Being Earnest

I adore Oscar Wilde from his single novel and collection of tales. I’ve never read his plays. Shame! He is a playwright, you say. And, by the old gods and the new (reference, anyone?), he does deserve this title.

The Importance of Being Earnest, or ironically also the Importance of Being Ernest, subtitled A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is exactly that and not at all what I expected.

This play is so funny, ironic, witty, sarcastic, entertaining, and containing all the other quintessential Wilde traits that it had me smiling and even laughing out loud at times (not just the acronym used in vain). I honestly expected a serious play exposing the sins of society and preaching on the topic of honesty, but it’s not that and trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

It does expose some sins of high society, with humour and satire, and in a way it does preach honesty, but only ironically. I can readily imagine the Victorian high classes seeing this staged! The play does exactly what it was written to do — entertain the audience and prick the selves of those intelligent enough to discern the thorns amidst the roses.

I read this play from a volume of other Wilde’s plays, and I most certainly will complete what I’ve started, sometime. Except, now I am even more uncertain of what to expect! Definitely something Wilde. (I’m so punny, no I’m not. But I make myself laugh, even if that makes just one.)

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Reading three books in five days was so refreshing! And I am catching up on my reading goal. Writing such short and rather informal reviews was also fun, and I shall continue the practice.

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2 responses to “Paper Towns, the Witches, and a Wilde Play

  1. Paper Towns is a three-star book for me as well. I’m really not sure how I feel about TFiOS, as the hype has polluted my initial feelings into annoyance, but I agree that LFA is ‘mature’ in comparison to Paper Towns. You mentioned the similarities between Quentin and Miles, which I agree with, but I also think Alaska and Margo are quite similar as well. (But again: I prefer Alaska over Margo!)

    The Importance of Being Earnest is fabulous! Everything about it is great, and being one of my all-time favorites, it’s a wonderful, short play to re-visit.

    • Yes, I agree how Alaska and Margo are similar, both are mysteries of sorts, but Alaska is given way more space for character development which is probably why you also enjoyed her character more…

      TFiOS was a little different in genre from LFA or Paper Towns, more romance oriented, so I enjoyed it for what it was. From the other two I expected more depth and I didn’t get quite that. I read your review of TFiOS and you mentioned that your expectations of the novel grew as the ‘hype’ around it did. I never had those expectations, which is why I guess I wasn’t disappointed as much.

      And yes! Must read more of Wilde’s plays! 🙂

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