Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: 2009
Page Count: 305
Also by John Green: First Reading of Paper Towns
*This post may contain spoilerish material*
One of my favorite elements of this novel is the three different section tittles: The Strings, The Grass and The Vessel.
Part One: The Strings: The idea of strings making up the insides of a person and holding them together is introduced very early in the story and is a reoccurring idea throughout the entire novel. Q thinks of his life and Margo’s lives as strings that are crossed and entangled with each other. Their crossing strings is one of the reasons Q feels responsible for finding Margo and bringing her home. The strings are one way that connectivness is represented in this novel.
Part Two: The Grass: The second way that the idea of people being connected is represented in this novel through the image of grass and roots. Whitman’s poem “Leaves of Grass” plays a large role in the story. As Q’s interpretation of the poem changes, his understanding of Margo and how they are connected changes as well. By looking at the world this way, Q starts to understand that he can find Margo, but he can’t make her come home, that part is up to her. This connection is not as strong and binding as the connection of the strings, but nevertheless it is still a connection through a root system and the connection is always there; it is not as easily severed as the strings are.
Part Three: The Vessel: The vessel is the third way that people and the way people connect are explained. Margo and Q decide that this theory of vessels that crack over time to let light in and out is the most accurate. The cracks come from life experience and hardships, but the cracks are not all bad. They let light in and out, meaning with cracks you can see out of your own vessel and into someone else’s and others can see into your vessel and connect with and understand you. This idea of light coming in and out of the vessels could also connect to the light shining out of the pumpkin in the epigraph of this novel.
I also love the theme of this novel which is summed up so beautifully by this quote from the book:
“What a treacherous thing is it to believe that a person is more than a person.” pg 282
I also really love the poem that is quoted in the epigraph of the novel which is called Jack O' Lantern by Katrina Vanderberg, and after reading the full poem I think it's a perfect fit for the novel. (John Green reads the poem aloud here.)
So in short, I really enjoyed rereading and examining this novel closer. I'm really looking forward to rereading more books in the future, and have already made my list of books I will be rereading for sure next year, which I will share soon.