Looking at Alaska

On March 3, 2005, John Green, author of The Fault in our Stars, Paper Towns, and four other novels, saw his debut novel, Looking for Alaska, on the shelves of bookstores. After fourteen years, Miles Halter, Alaska Young, and their accomplices are transforming. Thanks to Hulu, the book is finally getting its promised Hollywood chance. 

Green had many adaptation proposals over the years, but there was never a true follow through--until now. Check out his thoughts on “the winding road” of this process here.

For the die-hard lovers of this special story, and newly interested fans, or just the curious: all eight episodes of the mini-series will be released on October 18. 

Actor roll call! 

Alaska Young: Kristine Froseth

Miles Halter a.k.a. Pudge: Charlie Plummer

The Colonel: Denny Love 

Takumi: Jay Lee 

Lara Buterskaya: Sophia Visilieva 

Here’s a little history. Green wrote the novel in a very realistic fiction fashion, mirroring some of his own experiences. In fact, the school Miles attends, “Culver Creek,” is a reimagined version of “Indian Springs,” the boarding school Green graduated from. Written into the text are other similarities to his own life, like the same senior prank, the same love for last words, the same adolescent angst and insufferable questions. 

I have plans to reread before the premiere to experience it as a high school graduate. However, the themes in the novel can touch anyone. We focus on the misdealings of Pudge, who more than anything, is trying to find his “great perhaps.” When it doesn’t come from memorizing the last words of famous people, he seeks it out by following the footsteps of his father, which leads him to attend a boarding school in Alabama. There he finds a mysterious girl, wrapped in “electric blue” nail poilsh and daisies. We see him fall, lose himself, capture the essence of suffering, and then recover his own spirit. The voice is introspective and raw.  

As a boarding school alumna, I vie for Green’s debut. Going off to boarding school my junior year, I was secretly hoping for an experience close to that of Pudge’s–I wanted to find my own “great perhaps,” meet my own Colonels and Alaskas, but I realized there are some dealings we must leave to fiction. We can live through their eyes and discover epiphanies as they do. It was by looking at Alaska that I learned the significance of forgiving. 

I leave you now with a quote. 

“When adults say, 'Teenagers think they are invincible' with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

― John Green, Looking for Alaska