The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

Did You Know?
  • May 28Seniors Last Day Is THIS THURSDAY
The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

Staff Profile
John Smith
John Smith
Staff Writer

The Stunning Portrayal of Grief in Looking for Alaska

Looking+for+Alaska+by+John+Green+demonstrates+the+grief+felt+by+teenagers+when+a+life+is+cut+short.+
Sofia Kuzmenko
Looking for Alaska by John Green demonstrates the grief felt by teenagers when a life is cut short.

*This review includes spoilers for Looking for Alaska

Being a teenager is a bridge between childhood and adulthood that is equal parts confusing and fun. This messy, unique time in life is well captured in Looking for Alaska by John Green which portrays this struggle of coming of age expertly. 

In the book, loner Miles Halter decides to go to a boarding school to “seek a great perhaps.” When he gets there, he meets his new best friends Chip and Alaska, and experiences a new beginning filled with friendship, love, and loss.

Miles went to the school hoping to fit in with more people. Going to that boarding school changed him in multiple ways. Miles learned that his friends can be some of the most important people in your life. Alaska and Chip give Miles important life lessons all throughout the book. They make him try new things and even make him do things that get him in trouble with the school. The things they did were something new to Miles, it made him live a life he never could before, and the shenanigans they do bond him to Chip and Alaska.

Miles is longing for Alaska different times throughout  the book. The longing for it is portrayed many times throughout the story. The love that Alaska and Miles shared before the accident was very unique and weird. While they both liked each other, they couldn’t do anything about it. In the book, they both show that they love each other even if it’s a friendship type of love that they can’t understand. In a way Alaska was too broken to show love for Miles. She felt like she wasn’t deserving of the love. 

Alaska is a character who spends her life alone and looking for something more just like Miles, however, Alaska is more destructive than he is, eventually, eventually ending up in her death. The thing with this book is that John Green makes you fall in love with Alaska. He makes you fall in love with how she acts and how she does things in her life.  He truly does make you have a connection to her, so when she passes, the reader feels very saddened as if they are in the book

         This book demonstrates how grief works for different people. When Miles left Alaska to drink and drive, he felt at fault for her death. While he was very melancholy, he was also angry at himself. When people are grieving, they sometimes want to blame someone for their death. I think a lot of the time we blame ourselves because we think we could have done something to prevent it. The way John Green portrays grief in this book is very alluring. He talks about how no one really knows what happens after death. He mentions the uncertainty of thinking about death. People want to know what happens to their loved ones, but they might never know. 

         John Green is an award-winning author of many books which have been made into movies, and he’s most famous among high school students as the “Crash Course Guy.” Recently, the book itself has been banned in multiple schools and libraries across the country. Critics cite graphic language and sexual content as reasons for the ban, as certain groups of parents thought that those types of subjects didn’t belong in a book for teenagers. 

However, as a teen who has read this book, I can attest that the focus of this book isn’t on any of the things for which it is being banned. The book brought more insight on how grief works in different people, and how we can deal with our feelings. Most teenagers have different things they do to help themselves. Many teenagers can deal with a loss in their life, books can help them deal with losses. A death in a book is sometimes just as sad as a real-life death. The storyline shows that people can feel at fault when grieving. 

         It really wasn’t clear if Miles ever found the great perhaps that he was hoping to discover. I do think that Alaska was the great beyond, she helped him learn new things about himself and others. She showed that you could have an amazing adventure with someone you like. Her death affected him in a way that nothing else really could. This book was interesting and sorrowful from the beginning, but it even taught me some things. It taught me that grief is an interesting and alluring thing that is different in people. Not everyone can grief the same way and that is also okay. I would recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a sad book to cry over.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Review” represent the views, opinions, and recommendations of the author, not the 2023-2024 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Periscope
$215
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Want to help the Herd? Please consider supporting the Periscope program. Your donation will support the student journalists of CHS and allow us to purchase equipment, send students to workshops/camps, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Periscope
$215
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All comments will be approved by the website moderator. Comments containing inappropriate language will not be approved.
All Periscope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *