Looking for Alaska: Better Than the Book?

I first read Looking for Alaska when I was in the 7th grade and it instantly became one of my favorite books. I always appreciated it for being very different from John Green's other books. There had been rumors a few years ago that it would be adapted into a film but after months of radio silence, I believed my dream of seeing some of my favorite characters come to life wasn’t going to happen.

Then, in October of last year, John Green announced on Twitter that the Looking for Alaska mini-series had a cast and my dream was revived! Despite my wanting an adaptation of the book very very badly, I was suddenly a little nervous. The cast was announced and fans of the book were happy and also disappointed with Kristine Froseth and Charlie Plummer as Alaska and Miles. I wondered: what if the show didn’t do the book justice and it was ruined for me forever?

Courtesy: Entertainment Tonight

I know it sounds dramatic, but I would be lying if I said that this book wasn’t one of the main reasons I majored in English. And no, it wasn’t the “Y’all smoke to enjoy it, I smoke to die,” line that got me hooked. It was the way that a book could make a 7th grade, fairly sheltered version of myself feel sadness and grief for people that didn’t exist. Fans like myself everywhere hold LFA in a special place as well. For years, these fans have been assembling dream casts, making trailers and even writing fanfiction based on Green’s novel.

If the characters were written badly or the actors were unable to play the parts genuinely – especially when dealing with sensitive topics like depression, anxiety, racism and suicide – then it would be far from the book. Not to mention, there’s a certain kind of film that tends to come from adaptations of John Green’s books: cheesy rom coms that, although not bad, would be a hard angle to approach when producing Looking for Alaska.

From episode one, the show had the right mix of lighthearted comedy and seriousness that the plot deserved. Important moments, like the entire sequence of Alaska explaining why her home life is complicated, or Miles experiencing grief for the first time, are all conveyed so realistically, I was right back in my 7th grade feels for these characters! I was worried significant scenes would be cut off, like the infamous “If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.” Instead, the mini-series took the main points of the book and reworked them with new content to carry the book’s central themes of friendship, loss and mental health.

The mini-series was directed by Josh Schwartz who also directed shows like The O.C. and Gossip Girl, which are both wildly popular. These shows are definitely more upbeat and entertaining than what was meant for LFA and still, Schwartz pulled it off beautifully, so beautifully that I was crying before watching the last episode because I didn’t know how they would wrap it up and I didn’t want it to end!

Courtesy: TV Line

If you’ve never read Looking for Alaska, I couldn’t recommend it enough. If you’re like me and you’ve been a fan of the book for a while, holding out hope that it would ever make it onto your screen, I don’t think you will be disappointed by Hulu’s production. If shows and books were rain, these are both hurricanes!

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