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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June: PAPER TOWNS, Life-Changing Discoveries

John says, "When Margo and Quentin are nine they make a horrible discovery, and respond in very different ways. How do you think this shaped their lives in the years to come? How would you have responded?"

If you haven't read the book: Have you ever made a discovery that changed your life somehow? How did it affect you?


Martha Brockenbrough said...

Oooh. I had dated this one guy for quite awhile. We were living in different cities, and his roommate kept mentioning this other girl in connection with my boyfriend. My boyfriend kept denying it. But the stuff the roommate said made the denial increasingly implausible. (The other girl had apparently called my boyfriend "the one.")

So I guess that was the point at which I learned that some people lie really, really well, and that you have to trust in evidence over your own desires and other people's words. I do sometimes wonder if that was the right lesson. On one level, I always want to trust people.

I don't know how that relates to the book, and it certainly wasn't a discovery like Q and Margo's. But it definitely made me change directions in life.

lanna-lovely said...

I believe that everything shapes our lives, every memory and every mistake, every action all builds up and makes us who we are... with Q and Margo's discovery, something like that would definitely have an affect on their lives and the people they became in some way.

The majority of nine year olds are still viewing life through their rose tinted glasses and they don't realise how temporary we really are, how easily life can end but with Q and Margo, I think it would've put something on their radar a little earlier than it should've been. All the other things they go through and the types of people they are would've had an impact on how they turned out overall but yeah, I think it definitely would've shaped them.

I don't know how I would've reacted and I can't think of a discovery that has changed my life exactly (I mean, there are some but off the top of my head, I can't think of anything specific)

My dad died when I was 10, that's the closest thing I can think of to what happened in the book although that's not exactly a discovery, but that kind of gave me a warped view of the world that alternates between Margo's way of thinking and Alaska's depending on the day (maybe that's why I adore those two books so much, I relate to the characters a bit much).

As for how that affected me, I don't know. It kind of darknened my view of the world and made me view life and death in a completely different way... and I'm different than I would've been if he hadn't died, which is obvious, but I know for sure that I would be a completely different person now if he hadn't because that one thing became such a big part of who I am and how I think and act.

...I'll shut up now. :]

Melissa Walker said...

lanna-lovely, that makes a lot of sense, and I can see how you'd relate to John's characters so closely!

Martha, I totally want to trust people too. Maybe it's a "trust yourself first" situation?

I think the first time I discovered some deception within my own family, that's when things changed for me and made me start to see the shades of life more. Kids live in light (ideally) and when the dark seeps in, that first time, it's always jarring.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I'm just rereading Paper Towns again, and I am struck by how they both acted in character in the prologue. Their actions and reactions reflect who they will be as teens.

Maybe the discovery makes their natural inclinations bolder as they mature?

I discovered a teacher was stealing money from the students' account. It made me question authority figures even more. (My kindergarten report card said I was tattler. Hmm.)

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Oh, and I would have totally reacted like Quentin!

ReeMo said...

I went looking for Paper Towns today.. Couldn't find it in any bookstores around :( I waaannntt it!

elfarmy17 said...

I love Paper Towns. I think it might be my favorite book. One of them, anyway.
The passages that really strike me are when Radar talks about expecting people not to be themselves, and the overall theme of imagining people complexly. I view my relationships with people (especially the people I've met more recently) as continually growing, and I'm not as surprised when they do something that I thought was out of character.

Little Willow said...

I've never made a discovery like Q&M's, but I've certainly had my share of challenges, which I've always tried to meet head-on and without pause. I am a fan of justice and truth, and I have no problem speaking up when something wrong is happening, or someone is doing wrong, especially if it harms others in any way, shape, or form. It's immediate - There's no question.

ReeMo: I hope you find the book soon!

Anonymous said...

I think this definitely impacted Quentin's character... he never forgot what Margo said to him about "strings". (I won't go too much into it in case someone hasn't read/finished the book yet..o_O). They shared a life-changing experience together which means, the memory of the event will always include the other person. I think that goes with anything life-changing... if what happened is truly “life-changing” it is usually something that heavily impacts the person & is rarely, if ever, forgotten.

Dia Calhoun said...

I am not sure how the dead man figured into their later story. But I love the way the strings image was developed.

John said...

The comments of this post have been especially interesting to read. So I only know a little about physics, and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but I do know that really large objects bend space.


I think the things that happen to us when we are young are, in a way, big objects that distort our personal spacetime forever. That's kind of what I wanted the discovery of the body to be, although as Lorie pointed out, I also wanted it to reflect their innate characters. (Margo, after all, steps toward the body.)

Like most of you, I never had a discovery precisely like the one I wrote about in PT, but I do have that kind of spacetime-curving relationship with certain events from my childhood.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I love this concept of spacetime curving distortion, John. And the wiki image is helpful.

Yep, I feel that.

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