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Paper Towns

Popularity 1Viewed 2541 times 2017-6-12 15:36 |Personal category:reading|System category:Life| Paper, Towns

I decided to read Paper Towns mainly because I thoroughly enjoyed another book "The Fault in Our Stars" written by the same author-John Green. But I honestly believe this one isn't as good as the another one I read before. I personally reckon the former one about life, death and relationship is rather thought-provoking as well as tear-jerking to a certain extent. But this one which focuses on growing pains we all experience when we are maturing seems to pale a bit compared with that book.


The female antagonist in the novel-Margo is, at least superficially,  the typical popular student in many respects in her senior high school. She is conventionally good-looking with a great figure. She hangs out with other popular kids and does all the so-called cool things like running away from her family, breaking into a Disneyland at night and so on. But deep down she clearly knows that she does all these things to suit her fixed impression that others hold of her and to meet other's expectation of her.


One day, she found out that her seemingly best girlfriend had been sleeping with her boyfriend. She then decided to bid farewell to her high school life in advance. Margo for a long time had been torn between being a popular kid and being faithful to her own self. So after what had happened, she just wanted to put a brake on this life about being a paper girl in a paper town teeming with paper people.


Before leaving, she decided to go for a little adventure with her friend Quintin. Quintin has been her neighbor for a long time. They used to hang out a lot when they were both little. But as Margo grew increasingly popular and Quintin increasingly nerdy, they drifted apart.


But I suppose Margo still thought Quintin of all the people was the least hypocritical. At one night, off they went to execute the adrenaline-driving as well as exhilarating adventure. Margo revenged against all the people who in the past had offended her and invited Quintin to break the most rules in his whole life. Quintin at the very beginning was extremely afraid of  not adhering to rules and regulations and was constantly concerned they would both got caught and he would wind up being admitted to the prestigious university which has already promised to enroll him. However, after several trials, he found this almost unspeakable excitement involved in it. He realized that stepping out of the comfort zone wasn't all that bad. It was even to a certain extent eyes-opening, affording him brand-new perspectives on things.

After this, Margo left with a series of traces left behind for Quintin. Then Quintin with his friends started the journey of finding Margo. The story ends with Margo being found and not wanting to go back with them.


When I read to the part where Margo was gone, my stomach churned a bit as I seriously thought she committed suicide because of her unloving and uncaring parents. I was even a bit annoyed as I didn't know why people always die even in novels. I mentally listed all the main characters who died in the fictions I have read.


Lydia died in "Everything I never told you".

The female antagonist died in "One day".

The little boy died in "Book Thief". (Actually, many people died in this book.)

The little girl died in "Handle with Care".

The girl with Leukemia died in "My sister's Keeper".

Quite a few students died in "Nineteen minutes".

A great number of people died in "1984".

Will died in "Me before you".

A few people died in "Lord of the flies".


This apparently can go on and on. I don't know whether it is because of my fear of death makes it so conspicuous in the stories or because of some other reasons, it seems death is as a great topics to writers almost as love, probably even greater than love.

Of course, as I went on, I was relieved as Margo simply left her family behind.


There are two concepts in the book I felt strong connections with. The first one is about being an attention-seeking teenager. Margo was a teenager with great capacity in planning and taking care of herself. At the same time, she was exceedingly stubborn. But deep down she desperately craved for attention particularly attention from her parents. But her parents believed she was such a headache that they literally decided to ignore her when she was gone.


I believe we all go through a period when we want to be the focus of attention. We want to the world and life revolve around us and only us. I had had that similar experience. My parents were barely around after I entered my junior high school. They seldom expressed their affection toward me either. Therefore, I felt like I wasn't really loved or wanted by them. But soon I found out that every time I got a serious cold, my parents would shower me with love and concern. This may sound morbid, but gradually I sort of hoped that I would get ill and hoped my parents would come back to see me. I even kind of liked the smell of penicillin. So I think I quite understand Margo's feelings about not getting enough attention from her parents.


Another concept is about being a paper girl. Traditionally, many people may think it is utterly wrong to be paper people who are downright hypocritical.  But I reckon this is sort of unavoidable since this is really only a paper world. If you were being true and faithful to who you are, this world may not be able to carry your weight since the world is only made of paper.


Many people have not got to known themselves enough to realize what they want and who they want to be. These people act and behavior according to social norms. So it isn't all that fair to claim them to be hypocritical as they simply don't know better.


According to psychology, we human beings do basically everything in the interest of ourselves. We sometimes help others because it makes us feel better about ourselves. Sometimes we do it because it makes us rid of pain inflicted on our conscience. So theoretically, it isn't all that wrong to be a bit hypocritical.  


Being a paper girl/boy in a paper world is quite normal. There is no need to hate yourself for that.


But I do admire those who are always true to themselves and who try to be as faithful and genuine as possible even though they live in a paper world.


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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  • The Purpose of Reading 2018-4-12 13:45

    we have the same feeling about. reading,reading. really tells us a lot especially when welearn foreign can help us to understand other. country's culture and customs.therefore,when we talk. in foreign languages.we. needn't worry about. making too. much also can enrich our life.let's enjoy reding

  • Why don't We Stand Out and Fight? 2018-4-4 14:14

    It is actually emotionally and mentally healthy to have nursing homes for old people in residential areas, and makes it easy for families to visit their elderly relations regularly.
    Death happens to everyone and it is stupid to hide it away. Death is not bad luck - it will happen to you and me.
    In some European countries there are homes for the elderly next to kindergartens, and everyone benefits from interacting with each other on a daily basis.
    The elderly benefit from interacting with children and keeps them mentally alert, whereas the young learn about death as a normal part of life.

    For a country that supposedly 'respects' their elders, China has a very superstitious attitude to death and dying.
    where i am from, the elderly are allowed and supported by family and state) to be independent and in their own homes.
    Where medical treatment is needed, residential homes allow the elderly appropriate facilities in towns and cities while their families can visit easily and local residents can interact with them.
    In addition, local communities benefit from being able to interact with these residents and the residents can still be part of a local community, not hidden away as something to be ashamed of or 'taboo'.

    Shame on China for such medieval superstitious attitudes regarding death.
    Does China 'respect' the elderly so much that they should be hidden away from people's lives?

    Do you want to be isolated and hidden away when you are old and your family don't want to or can't visit you?

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