Paper Towns : Reality or Pseudo Reality?

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Paper Towns is yet another young adult novel by John Green. Written in parts, this book was published on October 16, 2008 by Dutton Books. Every part is names for a specific metaphor which has been used considerably in that section: Part One: The Strings, Part Two: The Grass, Part Three: The Vessel. The third part of the novel is divided into smaller sections by the hour. This unique form of narrative and its engrossing story line makes it a must read.

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The story revolves around Quentin “Q” Jacobsen and his neighbor Margo Roth Spiegel man. Set in Orlando, Florida, the story begins in a subdivision called Jefferson Park, with these young children discovering the corpse of Robert Joyner, a divorced man who had committed suicide, while playing in the garden. The story moves forward, it shows the both of them as high school students who have grown apart. Until suddenly one night, Margo shows up at Quentin’s bedroom, all set to take revenge upon everyone whom she feels hurt her at any point. She convinces him to help her. They visit Margo’s ex- boyfriend Jase and the girl with whom he was cheating on her, Becca. They take their revenge in a bizarre manner. And then they visit a character names Lacey, who becomes significant in the second half of the book. Before leaving both these places they had left a mark: an ‘M’ made of blue graffiti. Around 3:15 they reach the SunTrust bank. While resting on one of the higher floors, Margo refers to their motherland as a “Paper Town”. She feels it was “fake” and she did not think “It was hard enough to be made of plastic.” Margo asks Q, whom he would like to take revenge upon, he zeroes upon his childhood bully, Chuck Parson. They avenge Q and then break into the Sea World, but leave disappointed since there were no animals in the showcases.

The next day Q reaches school, feeling extremely apprehensive. He wonders whether Margo’s would spend time with him and his friends. But she doesn’t turn up that day. She goes missing for three days. Her parents seem to be frustrated with her since she had already run away four times in the past. In the meantime Q notices a series of clues left behind by Margo’s, which he thinks she did on purpose, and which he believed would lead them to where she was hiding. The following day they skip school and go to the place on the paper which turns out to be an abandoned mall and contains proof of her being there. Q begins to feel that she had committed suicide. Eventually the clues make him believe that she must be hiding in one of the “pseudovisions”, as Q’s mother liked to call them. He drives to all of the pseudovisions where he feels she may be hiding but has no luck locating her. He then finally ends up finding a connection using a map he found while searching for her. He discovers that she had been hiding in a fictional town in New York called Agloe. They eventually find her, but instead of being grateful she was agitated at their unexpected arrival. She had not left any clues intentionally, and it so appeared that she did not want to be found. Their friends get offended and they leave. In the end Q realizes that the image of her that he had created in his mind was as unreal as the one she had been showing everyone else. He becomes livid and blames her for wasting their time and putting everyone through so much of trouble. But she argues saying he only wanted a troubled girl he could save. In the end he comes to terms with the fact that she couldn’t be blamed for being as imperfect as everyone else. He realizes that “ She loved mysteries so much that she herself became one.” The story ends abruptly where although nothing is said in words, it is implied that Q returns with his friends while she was left back.

 

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This book debuted at number 5 on the New York Times bestseller list for children’s books and was awarded the 2009 Edgar Award for the best Young Adult novel. Green had also announced in a blog that the movie rights to Paper Towns had been optioned by Mandate Pictures and Mr. Mudd. But it did not materialize for some reason. However, on March 24, 2014, Green finally announced that Fox 2000 had bought the rights to the book and would be bringing together the same team of The Fault In Our Stars, with Nat Wolff, who played the role of Isaac, as the protagonist, Q. The film is scheduled to release around July 31, 2015. The book is a must read for every person who likes the world of fantasy but knows that they will have to come back to the reality, sometime or the other.