Dear John Green,
Someone I’m seriously impressed by is John Green. He’s an author and vlogger. After being pushed by my friend Sara, I’ve read all his books (I wasn’t so hard to convince after I’d read the first one), and he’s really a brilliant guy.
What really strikes me about his books is how at first glace they appear to be your typical teenage fluff. They’re very quick reads and are about high schoolers and their relationships and problems. What I didn’t expect was the depth with which he handles these usually trivial topics.
My favorite thing about his characters are that they’re very real. Usually when you read a book like that you have the main character who you love and then the antagonist(s) who you, of course, hate. But with John Green, all of the characters are flawed. All his books have main characters that I can never quite decide if I like. It challenges the reader’s notion that you the protagonist is inherently good and that you should be rooting for him/her and that the antagonist is being evil just for kicks and giggles or because they were raised by Satan or something.
He also deals very well with his subject matter. Most authors make high schoolers too immature or too mature – it’s not easy to understand the strange stage they’re in. Even the “best” person is going to have immature characteristics that jump out at you if you don’t happen to be the same age.
John Green also slips in some pretty brilliant quotes. For example:
“We find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are. We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals.”
That’s from his book, Paper Towns. I think right there in those two sentences John Green just summed up all the world’s problems. Could people have enslaved each other if they truly empathized? Whipped them? Tortured them? I for one don’t think so.
There’s a quote I think fits in nicely from Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. This may be a tangent from my love for John Green, but OSC deserves love too:
“In the moment that I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.”
Back to John Green:
He’s also a very funny guy, both in his books and in his vlogs. He’s a self-proclaimed nerd, like me, so I can’t help but like him! And he’s signing the first printing of his upcoming book (which means I’m getting a signed copy, since I pre-ordered one!), which is completely awesome. Though I do feel bad, as he’s injuring his hand by doing so.
I’m really excited for the book, even though I won’t be in the U.S. when it comes out. I’ll be studying abroad in Glasgow, so it’s going to be sent to my home address and I’m going to get my mom to send it to me there. 🙂