Paper Towns | Book Review – Filipino Edition

“It is so hard to leave — until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”

I was very eager to read Paper Towns after reading two of John Green’s book in the past few months. I was so intrigued about this one because it has received good reviews. So, I scour all the nearest bookstore in hope of getting a copy, which didn’t become easy for me because they no longer have a stocks. Idk why. Luckily, after I went to four stores the hunt is over. I got myself a book but ufortunately, it’s written in Filipino. Huh! Honestly, I had a second thought if I gonna buy it or not. Though, the curious side of me won. I gave it a chance. It’s my first time to read an English novel translated in Tagalog and it may not be perfectly translated but it still bring an impact on local readers, I must say.

So now I make a quick review which gonna be in Taglish.

Summary

The protagonist Quentin ‘Q’ Jacobsen, whose boring life is turned upside down when the stunning Margo Roth Spiegelman climbs into Q’s bedroom — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge. They have their night of adventure, but when Q wakes up in the morning, Margo has vanished. The main plot follows Q and his friends as they try to uncover the cryptic clues Margo left behind.

Review

This is very cleverly written plot. It has a great story, great characters and the writing makes me want to cry because it is so made of awesome. I can safely say that John Green is a new favorite. And if you notice, John Green writes in recognizable patterns. Palaging may roadtrip. Puno ng metaphors. He’s emphasizing too that journey and the destiny are basically different.

The Writing

The book is split into three parts namely, Ang Mga Tali at Pisi(The String), Ang Damo (The Grass), and Ang Sisidlan (The Vessel). Each section focuses on one of the metaphors. Malalim masyado mensahe ng kwento. Kaya pagtutuunan mo talaga ng pansin. Hindi mo na magagawang ibaba ang libro pag naumpisahan mo nang basahin. The best thing about this book was the discussion of identity. Yes, the story isn’t only focus on romance which I liked. John Green did a great job on it.

Tapos nabalanse niya ang paglalagay at pag gamit ng mga metaphors and oh the philosophical discussions with developed characters and some funny comedy.

Mayroon kasing libro — which I won’t mention — are so terrible and annoying that they made me cry in frustration and pull my hair out. Dahil bobombahin ka sa dami ng mga figure of speech na ginamit sa kwento at di mo na halos maintindihan yung nais iparating ng awtor. Siguro para maging malakas ang impact sa mga mambabasa pero sa totoo lang ‘di na naging appealing ‘yong dating dahil naging magulo na.

But Paper Towns is not one of them. It balance the comedy and mystery. It’s written in first pov which I see as an excellent choice to keep the thrilling and mystery of the next scene.

The Characters

Si Q ‘yong masasabi kong relatable na character. Iyong teenager a bit of a lost point in his life. His speeches are really very well-written. Marami siyang inner monologue e, at ikaw mismo mapapaisip at mapapasang-ayon. Siya ‘yong minsan na-in love at willing gawin lahat para sa taong mahal niya. Super interesting ng character. Hindi perfect pero lit.

Ang best friend naman ni Q na si Ben, which I can say na hindi ko masyadong gusto because of his derogatory language and backstabbing personality. However, I think he added drama and yeah most of the funny scenes are because of him. Radar by far is the most intellectual out of all the characters! He is laidback and funny. Lacey is the character I grew to like gradually.

And Margo is the most complicated character but you can still relate to her sometimes. Actually, yung character niya is more of idea kasi. Kung sino ba si Margo Roth Spiegelman. Everybody has different memories of her, and so sees her differently. Kahit ako may sariling interpretation kay Margo. Hindi naman siya ang main idea at character ng libro. Kundi si Q! Cracking Margo’s mystery serves to crack open Quentin’s own life, his relationship with people, his own view of Margo Roth Spiegelman, and his future.

Yung paghahanap niya kay Margo, sarili niya ang natagpuan niya. Perhaps that’s the bittersweet part of the story. When he utterly and completely found himself, kahit hindi naman talaga siya nawala simula sa umpisa. At yung magpaalam sa maraming bagay: his high school, his past, his ideal of Margo.

“Nai-imagine ko na ang isang uri ng kaligayahan, kahit wala na siya sa mga eksena ng buhay ko. Kayang-kaya ko na pala siyang pakawalan, dahil ramdam kong magka-ugnay pa rin ang pinagmumulan naming mga ugat. Kaya ko na siyang pakawalan kahit ngayon, at kahit hindi ko na siya makita pang muli.”

-Q

Plot

I love the plot! While it’s simple, it’s thought out and thrilling. It wasn’t predictable to me in any way. There’s a lot of comic relief also comes through Ben, particularly when he is drunk. The best part and of book was the roadtrip. Okay, hindi ako magspo-spoil. Hahaha.

This book is full of anecdotes, and wonderful observations about life. About making plans, leaving, the paper towns, paper people, Margo’s string theory, Whitman’s interconnected grass.

Nag-cameo rin si Moby Dick, Emily Dickinson, The Bell ni Sylvia Path, at Slaughterhouse-Five ni Kurt Vonnegut.

Message

Mamuhay ka kung sino ka talaga. Hindi iyong ikaw na sinasabi ng iba na ikaw. Hindi mo kailangan umarte batay sa pagkakakilala ng iba sayo at base sa kung ano ang gusto nilang makita bilang ikaw.

The Rating

I give this book 4.75/5. It’s fabulous, compelling and intriguing. Especially at the end, it will break your heart. It’s sad, but if feels right given the rest of the story. The title made of sense. I loved how the metaphors recur throughout the story, making everything flow together. It just made me want to read the next books more!