She was absolutely steadfast about refusing to censor the novel, even when I wasn’t.
My friend David Levithan once said of gay writers, “We are political novelists who do not wish to be political.” I feel a bit of that when it comes to banning books from classrooms and libraries.
One of the challenges in writing Alaska was learning not to overvalue facts. He was obviously smarter than me, and he found religion interesting, so I came to find it interesting also.
When I first started writing the book, I kept thinking I ought to include things that happened because they had happened. In the study of religion, there is this word theodicy, which refers to the question of why a God who is both loving and all powerful would allow there to be such unequal suffering in the world. Religion concerns itself with the same existential questions that I find interesting and important.
Miles Halter’s is knowing the last words of a lot of different people—people like the author Rabelais, whose enigmatic last words “I go to seek a Great Perhaps” inspire the sixteen year-old to leave his family home in Florida and enroll in Culver Creek, a co-ed boarding school in Alabama. What’s the difference between writing fiction and lying? To begin with, when you tell a lie, you generally do not admit upfront that it’s a lie.
There he makes a new circle of friends: his roommate Chip, a scholarship student whom everyone calls “The Colonel;” Takumi, a slyly funny Japanese-American rapper; and sweet-spirited, Romanian-born Lara, who has trouble pronouncing the letter “i.” But most importantly he meets Alaska, a beautiful girl who “had eyes that predisposed you to supporting her every endeavor.” Miles quickly falls in love with this reckless, quirky, endlessly intriguing girl. ABOUT JOHN GREENJohn Green is the author of Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines. Like, if I am lying to you about who stole the cookie from the cookie jar, I am not going to preface it by saying, “While I am about to convince you that John Doe stole the cookie from the cookie jar, the cookie was actually stolen by me.” But when you write fiction, as with Looking for Alaska, it says “a novel” right on the cover.
It took years before I was able to let go of the facts and focus on writing a true novel. In that vein, just how autobiographical is Looking for Alaska? I have always danced around this question, and I think I’m going to continue dancing around it now. In college, when I started to study religion, that was the question that interested me most. I think I probably prefer the study of religion to the practice of it, though. In high school, I had a classmate who attended a Southern Baptist church, and he was a nice guy, but he would always ask me questions about religion that I felt invaded my privacy.
Like Miles, I grew up in Florida and attended a boarding school in Alabama. So in some ways, that was the catalyst for the novel. From the very beginning, I wrote the book for high-school students. How did you come up with the book’s unusual structure? I’d been working on the book with very limited success for about 18 months before September 11, 2001. I stole lines from all three teachers, but particularly from Rogan. One time, he asked me, “How is your relationship with God, John?
Introduction Nathan Katica September 16th, 2010 Period 4A Banned Book Project: Looking for Alaska Miles Halter lives a very boring life.
He is not depressed, but just lacks excitement in life.