I hate that good books get knocked because of scenes deemed “inappropriate”. Looking over the Goodreads page of reviews on Looking for Alaska(yes, I’m obsessed), I saw a lot of low ratings and a lot of high ratings. Looking at the low ratings, I saw that they were mostly because of the inclusion of a “sex” scene. That’s in quotes because it’s not really one. Mixed in with alcohol and the f-word, it pushes these people over the age.
These snobby people who think that because there’s “inappropriate” content it’s a bad book. John Green, the author, made clear that his book is for high school readers. I’m not in high school and I read it and until I heard anyone raising speculation about that scene, I didn’t think about it at all. I didn’t even give that scene a second thought because in the end it meant something to the book and it really wasn’t explicit.
So why is this book ridiculed? I’ve read loads of books that have much worse content and in these books these scenes contribute nothing to the plot. I think it’s because Looking for Alaska is so honest and true and people are scared of that. They’re afraid of admitting that these things happen and that the world doesn’t have seatbelts. Alaska is a good book and that’s why I think it’s more widely ridiculed than others. It’s more known, and it’s more of a threat to them.
I suppose these people haven’t recognized the art of his scenes and why he includes the things he does. They’re not throwaways to get readers because they’re drug-obsessed or looking for something explicit. They mean something in terms of Pudge’s characterization as well as Alaska’s. They forge a contrast between Lara and Pudge and Alaska and Pudge and they provide truth.
It’s not because he’s trying to corrupt teens. No, he’s trying to save them.