Years ago when I was a performing pianist, I took part in a concert that featured concerti. There were five soloists, including me. The reviewer wrote quirky comments that made me go "huh" a lot, including this one about another pianist: "It's as if he fell off a truck and discovered a Liszt concerto in his fingers and decided to perform it."
Now I think I understand what he was trying to say. That's the way I feel about John Green's writing. It is so smooth, so easy, so effortless that reading his work is a pleasure.
Paper Town is about the main character, Quentin, chasing after a girl he's loved all his life, from clues she's left. The first part is devoted to a night in which she convinces him to join him in a revenge-driven pranks, the second has Q trying to figure out where she is, and the third is a classic road-trip story of Q and his buddies to find her.
It was fun and exciting to go along for the ride in parts 1 and 3. Having always been the good girl, I could live a wacky life vicariously through these fearless teens. Part 2, however, didn't work so well for me. Q came to quite a few conclusions based on his gut feeling. Now I know that gut feelings often give good advice, for whatever reason--it's been collecting information subliminally, it combines the intuitive and the analytical parts of us--but in a book, I want to partake more in the mystery-solving. Not having much access to Q's gut. it takes a mighty leap of faith for me to go along with his discoveries and conclusions, especially when there are more than one or two of such instances.
What do I mean by gut-feeling reactions? For example, when someone kisses a girl and knows from the kiss that they would never meet again. I can understand that these things do happen, and I know that it's hard to explain what about the kiss allows the person to come to the conclusion. But not being the one involved in the kiss, I am basically being told that it happened and I have to just take his word for it. Again, no problems if there were just one or two instances of this sort, but more than that, I start to lost interest in trying to participate in the story because I'm just going to be told what to conclude.
I mentioned in an earlier post I wanted to have a good talking-to with Q, to yell at him not to be so foolish. I hoped he'd do some growing over the course of the book, and he did, and I am proud of him. If he were my son or brother or good friend, I'd want more, but as a reader, I'm satisfied enough.
I'll have to say that John Green writes friendships really well. For me, the most touching parts come from Q's friends unwavering support for him. I am glad Q is not oblivious to that.
I am interested in finding out what other stories he finds in his fingertips when he wakes up next. (Yes, yes, yes, I know it takes tons of work to sound effortless.)