Paper Towns is incredibly anti-climatic. The movie even more so than the book. The story is about a boy obsessed with a girl he claims to be his miracle: Margo Roth Spiegelman. It was a story far different from what I thought it would be. Read no further if you don’t want spoilers.
Before I get into the message of the book and film, let me note that I wasn't a fan of the casting for the film, although I did like Ansel Elgort's surprise cameo. As far as the book versus the film: The characters in the book seemed less paper than the ones in the film. The beginning of the book is more exciting than the beginning of the film. The middle of both the film and book are a bit dull. The film's ending was far different from the book. Which I think it needed to be because the book's end was even more underwhelming than the film's.
Anyway, turns out Margo is not Q’s miracle. Q is in love with her and puts her on a pedestal, yet he barely knows her. He becomes obsessed with finding her because he thinks that if he does, he will be this knight in shining armor. But that's not what happens at all. She didn't want to be found. She wasn't his to be found. She wasn't an adventure or a cure to his life. No, Margo was simply a girl, figuring out her place in the world and writing her story.
And while I wasn't a fan of the movie (and the book was just okay), I did like the last five minutes when the true lesson was revealed. And it's a pretty important + darn good lesson. At the end of the film, Q admits he was wrong for romanticizing her and thinking he was entitled to her simply because he spent all that time tracking her down. The story shows how all too often we romanticize the people we fall for and forget that they're simply people. A girl is not the prize you get at the end of your adventure. A girl is a girl.
I have so many more thoughts on this book. Like Q wasn't fully at fault. And there was more to him that this guy who wanted to grow up and have kids and a job. “You can argue…that Ahab is a fool for being obsessed. But you could also argue that there is something tragically heroic about fighting this battle he is doomed to lose.”
Anyway, I'm still mulling the story over. Maybe I'll add to this post later. I want to think more about this quote (and others): “It is saying these things that keeps us from falling apart. And maybe by imagining these futures we can make them real, and maybe not, but either way we must imagine them. The light rushes out and floods in.”
Side note, I do prefer The Fault In Our Stars.
"What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person… And all at once I knew how Margo Roth Spiegelman felt when she wasn’t being Margo Roth Spiegelman: she felt empty. She felt the unscalable wall surrounding her. I thought of her asleep on the carpet with only that jagged sliver of sky above her. Maybe Margo felt comfortable there because Margo the person lived like that all the time: in an abandoned room with blocked-out windows, the only light pouring in through holes in the roof. Yes. The fundamental mistake I had always made—and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make—was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl."