1. John Green would have totally understood why I needed to carry a copy of Dostoyevsky's The Idiot wherever I went.
2. We could have gone to prom together and left early to go to a party where there were 212 cans of beer, but nobody drank because we were all just having fun telling stories about each other.
3. During our brief time at the prom, we both would have worn red high-top Converse All-Stars. He would have worn a tux with a tee-shirt, and I would have a cocktail length dress that showed off my awesome clavicle.
4. John Green wouldn't have seen anything wrong with bringing a book to a party and sitting in a corner reading while people did whatever people do at parties.
5. We could have taken road trips to visit obscure artists and douchy writers.
6. John Green should have been my high school boyfriend because he sees into my teenage soul and actually makes me remember what it was really like to be a teenager--a painful sensation I usually block.
After hearing my high school students wax poetic about John Green's novels, this year I finally read:
Looking for Alaska
The Fault in Our Stars
in that order.
Each one of them is my favorite.
I love the way Green makes adults totally irrelevant in his novels, without writing them out totally.
I'm a high school teacher, so it's a little eerie to read books set in schools where teachers are almost entirely absent from the narrative. But that's how kids experience school. We adults are irritating obstacles they must steer around in their quest to have a life (social life, love life, Darwinian survival of the fittest life).
I love the way Green manages to insert beautiful books into his books:
- In Looking for Alaska it's The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- In The Fault in Our Stars it is a fictional book called An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten
- In Paper Towns it is Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and Herman Melville's Moby Dick
I wonder whether Green's books lead younger readers to Whitman and Melville and Marquez--I hope so.
John Green gets that teenagers can be utterly serious and deep, and utterly ridiculous at the same time.
He gives his teen readers credit for having the intelligence to think about death and interconnectedness while also still having incredibly poor judgment at times. And he never judges his characters for that.
Of course, deep down, I understand why John Green couldn't have been my high school boyfriend: it's because
The world is not a wish granting factory.
What author should have been your high school boyfriend?