The Road to 65, Mile 229: “Looking for Alaska”

July 15, 2015, Prescott- Summer is road time, and also, reading time.  Heck, all time is reading time, for me.  Maybe that’s why so many of my  friends tend to be women.  We share a love of reading, and thought, and caring.

Alaska Young was a fictional character, yet larger than life.  John Green presented her as a blend of every schoolboy’s dream, every teacher’s model student and a nightmare in her own mind.  What a mind, though!  In a literary-real world mashup, I’d have taken a very quick liking to Ms. Alaska.  The wit, the razor-sharp intellect and the take-no-prisoners swagger, blended so deeply with her self-doubt, her vulnerability- which no male classmate saw, made for one of the most searing characters I have ever encountered.

A real life friend remarked this evening that men and women are tasked with trying to understand one another, precisely because we are fundamentally different.  Yes, men and women; young and old; wealthy and impoverished; landed and homeless; across “racial” and ethnic lines; differences of sexual orientation; differences of temperament; differences of opinion- all such barriers must be crossed.  Spaceship Earth is a Mashup of universal proportions.

Yet, Alaska Young, seen first by her boy peers as a gorgeous creature, was a toweringly complex being.  So it is with each of us.  A thoughtless man, just a bit more than a year ago, called me a woman-hater, for having used the word “beautiful” too many times, with reference to women.  Beauty is far beyond physical, though.  Without a shining, searing spirit, bursting from the eyes, the most appealing of symmetric features lose their allure, in a flash.  Alaska Young’s deeper appeal was her Force of Nature aura.  This was a woman who did not miss a trick, and but for her angst, her guilt, she would have conquered the world.

Each of us is given the goods, and the burden.  Shall we not use the former, to cast off the latter?

4 thoughts on “The Road to 65, Mile 229: “Looking for Alaska”

    • Enjoyed is a buzz word for “was delighted by”. While Alaska made an indelible impression, the story itself was very dark, and thus hardly a delight. It is a very intense character study, nonetheless.


  1. John Green wrote The Fault in Our Stars, right? (That one actually did make me feel a little uncomfortable, funnily enough.) I can imagine his portrayal of such a character would be very effective.

    It may only be my impression, but it seems like it hard to find men who are not judgmental of other men or who are not too distracted by the opposite sex to appreciate same-sex friends. I’m very glad for the male friends I’ve been blessed with.


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