Paper Towns is about a phenomenon called the manic pixie dream girl. This magical unicorn like person, a beautiful, popular girl called Margo in this case, is built up in so many people’s heads as the epitome of perfection. She’s wild, exhilarating and inspirational, and even just one night with her can change someone’s life. In other words someone who’s completely unrealistic and fake.
At it’s very core, Paper Towns hits closer to home than expected. How many geeky, awkward guys have you seen, pining over the beautiful, unattainable, popular girl, only to waste away their lives trying to impress her? How many beautiful unicorn girls have you seen taking advantage of her friend zoned minions who don’t stand a chance with her? We know it happens, we’ve seen it in real life. But that doesn’t mean I want to see it again in a fictional sense.
The fact that I didn’t like the characters made it slightly unbearable. Margo is pretentious, bitchy and completely unrealistic as the manic pixie dream girl, which is built up in people’s heads. Q is obsessive, a bad friend and pretty much creepy the way he convinces himself that he’s in love. These two archetypes were so polarised that I was not able to relate to them much, or even care about what happened to them. The side characters was what made the movie for me.
As Q grows up a geek and Margo grows up in the popular crowd, they begin to drift away. Margo avoids talking to Q for 9 years, and even partakes in teasing him with her friends. But when she doesn’t have anyone else, she pretty much uses him, before she runs away. Even though they end up having a good time, it was just so clear to me what she was really doing. And because Q is such a loser, he convinces himself that he’s about to embark on a torrid, whirlwind love affair with beautiful unicorn girl and becomes completely obsessed.
And in the meantime, he’s a complete jerk to his friends, dropping absolutely everything just to go after her. It’s meant to be romantic, but to me it was completely creepy. They spent one night together, and he’s already admitting that he loves her. No thanks.
You have no idea how much this story frustrated me. I just wanted to shake Q so hard. I predicted how the story was going to turn out. I just wanted to yell at him: SHES NOT THAT GOOD! She’s using you! Stop throwing tantrums over a love that will never work out, your friends are more important!
But nope. Like a dog to a bone, Q is just going to follow that unicorn to the bitter end, because he’s completely enamoured with her. And when they finally meet, you’ll understand just how little Q means to her – simply a means to an end.
And for what? Just to realise that sometimes you build up magical unicorns in your head? And that you should appreciate life instead of obsessively pining away at an unrequited love? Sitting through this story just made me so incredibly frustrated – it felt pointless and self explanatory. Q is just lucky that he has friends that will stick around for him because after the way he treated them – I’d be out of there.
Paper Towns ends my love affair with John Green after The Fault in Our Stars. I really didn’t like this story at all, and I’ve heard Looking for Alaska and The Abundance of Katherines isn’t much better. I’m glad I saw the movie instead of reading the book, which I’ve heard enough about to realise that it isn’t for me. This is a story that I’d love to rant about, but thankfully the movie was cute enough.
Read my Paper Towns movie review here.
Did you like Paper Towns? What did you think of the book vs movie?
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