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Does the Hulu Series Looking For Alaska Do the Book Justice? 


(Photo Credit: Hulu)

As a fan of John Green’s novel Looking for Alaska, I was skeptical when I heard there would be a Hulu adaptation of the beloved story. John Green is no stranger to well-done remakes, namely The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. Despite these excellent remakes, I couldn’t picture Looking for Alaska translating well on the small screen. But, now, I’m here to say that I was wrong. I loved the Hulu series. I haven’t read the book for some time – late middle school or early high school – but it all came rushing back when I watched the series shortly after it premiered on October 18th, 2019. 

I’m going to try and do a run-through of the series, hopefully, fingers crossed, with no spoilers. It follows Miles “Pudge” Halter, who sends himself off to boarding school in search of what he calls a “Great Perhaps.” This is derived from the last words (Pudge is obsessed with last words, by the way) of Francois Rabelais, a poet, who proclaimed on his deathbed, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Pudge finds his “Great Perhaps” when he’s initiated into a close-knit group of friends of which Chip “The Colonel” Martin, Takumi Hikohito, and Alaska Young all belong. He is specifically intrigued by the mysterious and infamous Alaska, and his infatuation with her continues to grow. Their friendships are tested as they navigate their offbeat boarding school, until, eventually, they are forced to cope with the reality of a horrific accident. 

The actual plot of the story managed to stay true to the book, and the few scenes that strayed were well done. Based on this fact, the story itself was phenomenal; after all, it was based on a John Green book. It is not lacking in the notable quotes department, including several lines from famous novels and even more famous last words. The characters were lovable, interesting, and witty. The story was never dull, yet it was able to encompass all the nuances of the book due to its eight-episode format (which is perfect for a short term binge). 

Looking for Alaska has the unique quality of being light-hearted at times while being incredibly heavy at others. It often treads the line between being a drama, romance, and a comedy. It makes you think, and you come away from the series with a lot of answers and even fewer questions. 

But be warned, this story is not for the faint of heart. It subtly tackles instances of depression, drinking, drug use, and sexuality. If you’re not overly touchy about any of these subjects, and you’re looking for the ease of binge-able teen series with a little more substance, I would highly recommend watching Looking for Alaska. 

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