On the Labyrinth of Suffering and Adolescence

Looking for Alaska - John Green

Honestly I don't know how to start talking about my feelings towards this book. To be honest this is the second John Green book I've read and I do plan to read others but I'm starting to see a pattern in his writing and the personalities his characters tend to have.


While I was reading this I couldn't help feeling I was reading something similar to Catcher in the Rye, the way the characters communicated and my lack of empathy towards any of them made me feel like I was reading about another Holden Caulfield (one of the most annoying characters in literature in my opinion). Even so I still enjoyed reading this book because it dealt with a lot the theme of death, belief and existence. I think most teenagers face a period of existential curiosity during adolescence and I have to say the word adolescence in itself points towards the same crisis. The word “teenager” is Spanish is “adolescente”, which comes from the word “adolecer” which means to be in pain, I personally think that is the best description of those years. I believe you never feel as much pain of existence during life as you do in your teens; trying to find purpose and way to deal with being inside the labyrinth we are born into is extremely difficult when you are also trying to find yourself. I think this book embodies this, and I think that’s what made it enjoyable to me.


The characters themselves are slightly annoying, at least the main characters in my opinion, but when I really think about it, it makes a lot of sense because the sense of immortality and lack of consequence during those years can make you a bit pretentious. When I look back in time, I must admit I dislike my teenage self because I felt like a know it all (the same way these characters felt) and now that I’m older I realize I know little of existence, of life and purpose… I guess we never really grow up, but experience can make us wiser and better at escaping this labyrinth of suffering because we learn how to cope.


I recommend this book to teens and adults because teens can use its teachings as coping mechanisms and adults can reflect on life itself by looking back in time.