A Paper Town for a Paper Person

wpid-9fe6f589a0f0fb7e0d23e31b2a77229aThe new ‘Paper Towns’ movie trailer is here!! Let’s hope the movie  doesn’t ruin one of my favourite books. I can’t say I’m too happy with the casting of Cara Delevingne as Margo Roth Spiegelman but I can understand why they chose her. For one, she’s extremely popular at the moment. She also has that mysterious air about her that Margo, the character she plays, possesses.

Movies ruin the imagination, they take something you read and imagined for yourself, and from now on you will always think of the movie vision rather than how you envisioned it in the first place. Yet there are some people in the world who don’t read and it would be sad for them to miss out on such a poignant story as this one. If making a movie is the only way to do so then by all means, make one.

But on to the book…Author John Green explained in one of his ‘Vlogbrother’ videos the logic behind a ‘Paper Town’. A paper town is also known as a copyright trap. Often mapmakers create fake places on maps to make sure no one copies their maps as maps can look the same (as they are meant to). Algoe New York got it’s name by mapmakers Otto G. Lindberg and Ernest Alpers who used their initials to name their fake town in the 1930s.People travelling would go to that intersection looking for Agloe and would find nothing. Until someone built an Agloe General Store, 2 houses, and a gas station. So when the mapmakers saw a Rand McNally map with Agloe on it and wanted to sue them for copyright, Rand McNally came back saying that Agloe does exist and it is not a copyright infringement. It was a fictional place, and it became real. Which is what the book is essentially about.

The main female character of the book, Margo, looks down at Orlando and says it is: “A paper tumblr_n83n5nUNWU1tofniwo1_500town for a paper person.” No spoilers here but let’s just say she feels everything, and everyone is 2D, paper thin, with no one living a true life- just running about acquiring materials things trying to be happy. She wants something more out of life.

I’m not saying this is a genius piece of literature. It’s not. It’s a teenage book but it just struck a cord with me at that particular point in my life when I read it. It’s a deep teenage book. It has the usual teenage humor, as well as some teenage profanity but aside from that, it is a really thought provoking book with A LOT of points to think about.

There are 3 main metaphors to the book, aside from the whole paper place/paper person. Here’s how I understood the 3 metaphors:

1. Broken Strings. Every person has strings and slowly, as you go through challenging times, they snap, until you’ve broken all your strings and just can’t deal with life anymore. You need an escape, an out. Different people find that escape in different ways. Some may take a vacation, in more extreme cases, they may take their life.

2. Humans are like grass. We are all inter-connected through a root system, and we all need the same base things to survive.

3. A ship’s broken hull. A ship’s hull that has cracks in it will sink, unless it is fixed. We all have cracks. We all have flaws. Flaws which we can work on.62e41de45bd63e0e2e54ba35646486e1Do not think someone is perfect and imagine them to be this confident, awesome person because no one is like that. This is one of my favorite points in the book,  That we think people are perfect when in fact everyone has problems in life and thinks the other guy has a perfect life.

I’m not sure if that is what John Green had in mind when writing those metphors but that’s how I understood them. Which is the whole beauty of books- you write it with something in mind and someone who reads it can take away a completely different point that you never even thought about.

I saw this ‘Which John Green novel are you?’ quiz on BuzzFeed and decided to waste 2 minutes of  my life doing it. My result was…Paper Towns! (Yipee!) Why am I Paper Towns? According to BuzzFeed:

You’re super adventurous, and you can’t sit still for more than five minutes. You dream of travelling the world, climbing mountains and finding exotic places to visit.

Which is scarily true. I don’t know how these quizzes figure all this out by choosing which Beyonce picture you like better…But I’m happy with the result!

Watch the ‘Paper Towns’ trailer below, or better yet, go read it.

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