“Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”
This quote is from character Miles Halter, speaking in teen fiction author, John Green’s novel, Looking for Alaska, published in 2005. Green is also known for his novels The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and more recently Turtles All the Way Down.
I look back at John Green’s books as a sentimental artifact from my time in middle school. I was 11 years-old when The Fault in Our Stars was published, and for the time, that book was what all my female peers were obsessed with. We had never read anything as emotionally deep and well written as “TFIOS,” and so, my obsession as well as many other teen girls’ around the country began. I saw the movie, which was released in 2014, with friends and yes, I did cry. Maybe it was a little forced, but nonetheless the film was enjoyable.
With my history of reading Green’s work, I was thrilled that Looking for Alaska (LFA) was going to be adapted into a TV series. LFA will always be my favorite Green novel because it touches upon deep and mature topics; grief, adolescence troubles, and identity crises.
A little background about the novel. The book is about the protagonist, Miles Halter, “a teenage boy obsessed with last words, [who] leaves his normal high school in Florida to attend Culver Creek Preparatory High School in Alabama for his junior year” (Wiki). While at the school, he meets roommate Chip Martin, referred to by his nickname “The Colonel” and befriends Takumi Hikohito and Alaska Young. His new friends are intelligent and deeply philosophical. The “Colonel” is a big schemer, Takumi is a Japanese hip-hop emcee, and Alaska is a beautiful free spirit but emotionally complex character.
Released October 18th of this year, I watched the Hulu original mini series a couple weeks later, and it took me around two days to view the eight episodes, each about 50 minutes long. I would have personally preferred a movie, but the tv series allowed for a deeper integration of the novel into a screenplay, which fans of the book will appreciate.
The cast includes Charlie Plummer as Miles, Kristine Froseth as Alaska, Timothy Denny Love as the Colonel, and Jay Lee as Takumi. All actors that I honestly didn’t know existed until the release of the series.
Upon viewing the series, I found that it was everything I had hoped for and more. It was practically a mirror of the novel but on the screen. The cinematography gave off the exact aesthetic that the novel brought forth. Was it cheesy and over sentimental at times? Absolutely. It reminded me of how deep the story really was and the tough issues that it deals with. With the book being released in 2005 and the tv series debuting 14 years later, I think that the screen adaptation was worth the wait. I would love to pick apart this show more, but I don’t want to spoil anything, especially if you have not read the novel (which I recommend reading prior to viewing the show). Experience John Green’s work for yourself. For sure, this TV series will make you think.
As mentioned in the beginning, the protagonist Miles is obsessed with last words, so I will leave you with this insightful quote from the main character himself: “At some point we all look up and realize we are lost in a maze.”