Saturday, November 10, 2007

Critical Analysis of Books by John Green (1st Draft)

John Green is not J.D. Salinger, the author of Catcher in the Rye, a best selling "problem novel" for teens that debuted in the 1950s. Nor is he Judy Blume, the author of Forever, and various other hot and sexy teen romance novels from the 1970s. Yet, like these two authors, Green has managed to tap into the passions and interests of a generation of adolescent readers. He has done so by filling his novels with humor, sexual energy, heart-wrenching conflicts and emotions, and deep philosophical ideas that do not beat the reader over the head, but rather lie quietly waiting for readers willing to take the extra effort to look deeper for them.

Humor and sexual energy are two clear staples of Green's work. In Looking for Alaska, a novel that has been compared to Catcher in the Rye, a teenager named Miles goes to boarding school and makes two friends, Alaska and the Colonel; Alaska and the Colonel are not only witty and sarcastic in relation to their peers and teachers, but also very mature in their sexual knowledge and experiences. A lot of the enjoyment of the novel comes from observing Miles, Alaska, and the Colonel verbally interact with one another, and upset the academic and behavioral expectations of their teachers and peers. Similarly, in An Abundance of Catherine's, Green presents a trio of friends--Colin, Hassan, and Lindsey--who are smart, witty, and sarcastic-- though not in quite as an extreme way as in Looking for Alaska. In this novel, as in Looking for Alaska, the main character, Colin, is sexually attracted to the female sidekick, Lindsey. However, unlike Miles in Looking for Alaska, Colin's desires are not instantaneous nor constantly diverted and manipulated. Instead, he comes to realize his affections for Lindsey after a long (perhaps even tortorous) period of obsession with other women.

19As my biography of John Green reveals, he is a very unique writer.


Both books have a lot of humor.

Both books involve a journey


Abundance is a journey to Tennessee, and learning about relationships

Alaska involves more of an internal journey at a prep school setting in Alabama.

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