Living in the John Green Era

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Living in the John Green Era

By Beyza Ozer

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Senior Beyza Ozer on John Green.

Senior Beyza Ozer on John Green.

When teens are asked if they prefer movies over books, the majority of the answers would most likely be yes. Movies exhibit action, adventure, and comedy, which keeps us entertained and wanting more. But with books, there are certain aspects that no one can explain or portray in films. With movies, the directors or actors sometimes lose the focus or miss the point that the author was trying to show in her work.

What some young adults don’t realize is that there is a phenomenal author writing during our generation who can change perspectives and capture the hearts of everyone who has had the pleasure of reading his novels. His name is John Green, and he is a 35 year-old man who has the mentality and vision of an 18-year-old.

I first began reading Green’s books when I was fourteen, just as my freshman year was slowly but surely ending. I can’t remember exactly who or what it was that encouraged me to start reading his book “Paper Towns;” I suppose it was the interesting cover of a red push pin that seemed to pop. I didn’t expect to finish “Paper Towns” in a mere two hours and suffer from an emotional breakdown, but that was what made me begin to admire Green’s writing style and persona.

Along with being the author of multiple bestselling books, Green also co-runs a YouTube channel called VlogBrothers with his younger brother, Hank.  He also makes videos for his own separate channel called Crash Course, which is an education series that is based around talking about classical novels. Between participating in charities such as Project For Awesome and creating videos for his YouTube channels to entertain his fans, also known as Nerdfighters, John Green still finds the time to write novels that can make anyone from any age group feel as if they can relate to the fictional characters that seem to have something so real about them. It’s as if we all have an Alaska, from “Looking for Alaska,” a Quentin from “Paper Towns,” and, if we’re lucky, an Augustus from “The Fault in Our Stars.” All of these characters that come from John Green’s imagination can easily represent people that I’ve met and became close to.

Many who know of John Green follow him on social networking sites such as Twitter and Tumblr, which means that they know how hilarious and adolescent he can be. He’s the kind of author who connects with his fans, whether through puns, sarcastic remarks, or incorporating his humor into his novels. I’ve never laughed so hard while reading a book before I read “Will Grayson, Will Grayson.” Not to mention, the things Alaska Young had to say had me in tears.

That’s not to say that all of John Green’s writing is immature humor, his novels are widely known  for dealing with heart break. Green teaches us about loving someone, and then losing them. Even if you haven’t gone through what characters in Green’s books have, you’ll be an emotional ball of feelings when you arrive to the last page of both “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Looking for Alaska.”

But the thing is, John Green doesn’t write these books to make his readers cry or fawn over him or even to be a best selling author. All of those things do happen, but for him they are just a bonus.  He writes for us, for teenagers, to learn how to grow up in a world that might not always be so good to us. He writes in order to show us that even if he doesn’t know us personally, he can relate to us. He writes to let us know that things will be okay.  He does this all through words on a page. Doing that is an incredibly difficult task, but Green makes it look easy. It’s not a simple thing to do, to relate to young adults, yet this 35 year-old man is able to reach out to his readers and help them understand that life will never be easy, even when we get older. There will always be struggle, especially now, but there’s always a purpose to the hardships. Here is where his message shines through: “The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”

These words are the inspirational aspect of his writing. This is why everyone who has read John Green appreciates what he has to say.