Sunday, 9 August 2015

What I'm Reading: Paper Towns

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Who are we?

Are we something to other people but not to ourselves?

Has what makes us us come from within or from others and their impositions and influences?

These are some of the questions the author of Paper Towns, John Green, asks. The book explores a number of concepts and themes that are interwoven within the book such as; gender, identity and finding your place within society. One of the main themes throughout the book explores the character of Margo and relates to the second question above. It appears that Margo is a popular, outgoing, rebellious person to those that know her, however, as the story develops you discover who Margo really is, someone completely different.

What really stuck out for me was the concept of accepting people for who they are, not who you think they are or who you want them to be. I think this can relate to expecting others (friends, family members, colleagues) to have the same viewpoints as you, to want the same things. In recent years, I have had to accept that my friends want to put time into their relationships and that there isn't always time or money to also do things like trips and holidays with me. I can easily take things the wrong way and struggle to see why they wouldn't want to squeeze in a girly weekend away, we have fun and I want to spend time with them. Recently, however, I think I have been a bit more grown up about it, I understand that relationships are important and know that I am the same when I am in one. I need to accept the balance and take the time I can find to get together and compromise on the things we do. Our friendship is of more value than arguing over things that are not really important. Being the only single one amongst my friends means that I need to find things I enjoy doing alone sometimes so that I don't spend all my time hiding away, not doing anything when my friends are busy with their own lives. Hence the solo road trip earlier this year.

In terms of who I am and what influences that, I guess I'm still figuring that out, still growing and changing. One of my biggest role models as a teenager was Angelina Jolie; her humanitarian work and her adoption of Maddox as a single woman. I think my choice of career, within the health and social field, has definitely been guided from within. I've followed my feelings, my need to find a job where I feel worthwhile, where I can make a difference. People are motivated by a number of reasons; their values, political ideologies, money, power whose to say what are right or wrong motivations for doing something. I think it's all about perspective and we have to take the time to consider all of them before jumping to conclusions and possibly the wrong ones.

I've seen the trailer for the film Paper Towns and can't decide whether or not to go and watch it when it comes out. I quite enjoy watching films when I've read the book, to see if I discover something new and to see what has been changed. I can't do it the other way though, I struggle to read the book if I've already seen the film. What are your thoughts on watching films if you've already read the book or the other way around?

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