Paper Towns: Chapters 10 to 21 – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

Over the course of chapters 10-12, there is the constant question of where is Margo? Something which seemingly no one has a clue about, until chapter 12.

Review (with Spoilers)

I’m trying my best to stay interested in this book, especially considering I’m itching to read Eleanor & Park, but honestly it is so difficult. For while Margo has grown on me, as well as Q and his friends, something about the story seems so much like a scream for attention than the way I like books to seduce me into being interested. Because of that, as much as Margo’s disappearance matters, I don’t feel the need to really keep reading on and on in order to learn what happened to her. And I don’t know if that is because I’m doing chapter by chapter reviews, as opposed to just reviewing the whole book, or if truly this is just a book with a lot of basic characters and a barely intriguing story? Either way, I may keep chapter by chapter reviews to only books which really hook me only on so that I can cut down on the hemming and hawing. But, until then, let’s keep up our journey with Q which is not in Part 2.

Characters & Story

From chapter 10 – 12 there is this constant desire within Q to find Margo. Breaking it down, in Chapter 10 we are presented with the morning after and you can tell Q being chosen, and him choosing her, has left him feeling a stronger than ever attachment to Margo, something which seemingly revived some sense of hope that now things maybe different between them. However, she doesn’t show up at school, and as Q tells Ben, of all people, what happened, you can see that poor Q is love-struck and is really in the type of mindset that he’d probably do anything, outside of maybe murder, to impress and show he is worthy of Margo.

As for Chapter 11, with Margo still AWOL, we learn that when Margo leaves having any sort of connection in Q’s life, it doesn’t do well for his friends or him. Such as the Bloody Ben story starting when Margo was gone and now this kid named Jason shooting pee through a water gun, during her current time away. Though with Q now having some leverage, due to those pictures he took, he is able to get Jason to calm down due to his seniors telling him to. However, being that Ben is a good friend but a dumbass, he ruins the moment by trying to punch Chuck. A dumb move he should of got his butt kicked for, but Jase keeps him from doing such. After all, it hurt Ben more than it hurt Chuck at the end of the incident. Though even with blackmail, pee guns, and Ben trying to be a badass, things end with us being reminded that Margo is the most important thing in Q’s life.

Leading to chapter 12 when Margo disappearing is treated as serious, and yet not serious at the same time. You see, as we really get to know about Margo’s parents, we can see why she doesn’t like them. In fact, we can understand well why she runs away so often and does all these wild and crazy adventures. However, with the cops coming, and Margo’s parents changing the locks, it seems they want the fun to be over and are done with her shenanigans. They are sick of her running away, leaving clues as if they are detectives, and as much as they love her, her being gone is becoming too much of a relief to pretend that they are willing for another round. So, it seems things are going to be left to Detective Otis Warren’s hands. That is, unless this new poster of Woody Guthrie means something, in which case it may mean Q maybe on another adventure. This time without Margo, but for her just the same.


Chapter 13 – 16

Overview

As Q ends his mopping around and finally actively looks for Margo, we are lead onto a sort of scavenger trail.

Review (with Spoilers)

At this point, I just want to see how this ends. Especially because the journey to the ending is growing increasingly tiresome and everything is feeling rather dragged out. Though with it seeming Q may finally be getting somewhere by the end of the chapters noted below, perhaps my suffering won’t be prolonged too much further?

Characters & Story

Chapter 13 is pretty much all about Q, Ben, and Radar heading into Margo’s room, after giving Margo’s 11-year-old sister $5, and them trying to figure out where Margo went. Something which leads to a lot of possibilities, but like with Margo’s parents, it is hard to fully know what maybe a clue, or you are just hoping is a clue because you are getting frustrated. Either way, as the boys go through Margo’s room and find the works Walt Whitman and John Coltrane, they all act surprised Margo likes stuff like this, and surprised at each other when some of the names mentioned aren’t familiar to someone. Though, in the end, Whitman seems to be the only real clue, so Q holds onto this for he thinks it made lead him to the Margo.

In Chapter 14 Lacey befriends the group, especially Ben, and it seems that pretty much everyone knows Q helped Margo do all those screwed up things she did. Yet, despite this happening, no one is trying to get payback. Lacey, in fact, is sort of wondering why was she even on the list? You see, she didn’t know Margo was getting cheated on. Her boyfriend, at the time, did, but not her. Leading to an interesting mention before she leaves, which in real life would mean nothing: She mentions that she is without a prom date. Something which somehow became good for Ben, but more on that in a minute.

According to Lacey, with it being around 4 days now, this is pretty much a record for Margo. Something which surely heightens the worry you are supposed to have for her, but with it seeming after all Q does he may get some sort of John Green fantasy award, I doubt we will find her dead carcass somewhere. Though remembering this is a John Green book, it shouldn’t be considered off the table since the love interest in both The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska died.

Going back to Ben, though, we learn the Honey Bunny lover Ben has somehow snagged Lacey and they are going to prom together. Which partly he thinks was done out of guilt, but with how much they talk and interact with each other, you are lead to believe he is seriously underestimating the time she willingly spends with him. Though, despite his friend being really happy, Q puts no effort into helping Ben celebrate. If anything, he is so caught up in where Margo is, he comes off like an ass. Though, with Ben either being oblivious to Q’s attitude, or not letting Q bring him down, when the idea comes to maybe unscrew the locks from the door, a line they read while trying to find clues, they figure perhaps it means Margo wants them to take her bedroom door off. Meaning: Another trip to Margo’s!

Which begins chapter 15 as the 11-year-old Ruthie, who is home alone because her parents work, just opens the door and provides all the information Q needs. Which is weird to me, but with her knowing Q, and assumingly the area being quiet and nice, I guess there isn’t a serious need to question this over trusting 11 year old. Though, at the end of the day, it seems she just wants her sister back and if Q can figure out a way to find her, she’ll help however she can. Unfortunately, though, once more the guys don’t find any real clues so not they are just throwing random theories around. Like Lacey maybe being some sort of mole reporting to Margo to see if Q is on the right track? Something which Radar says doesn’t add up and makes him seem like the only voice of reason/ person with any sense, in this trio. But with no leads on Margo, we are left with Q explaining why he is now obsessed with Margo and it is because she broke his routine. He now doesn’t see himself as the boring person I still do, and with Margo bringing a taste of excitement into his life, he doesn’t want to go back to the same old Q he was. He wants to be the Q that Margo showed him he could be.

Leaving us with Chapter 16. At this point, Q still seems to keep hope alive, despite so many wrong turns and road blocks. And while his parents are supportive to his face, they are increasingly worried behind closed doors. Though from what it seems, besides Q seriously becoming a butt hole, they haven’t much to worry about. For with Ben and Lacey increasingly seeming like a couple, I guess Q gets a little envious/ jealous that he can’t have the luck Ben is having and perhaps live out his private prom fantasies with Margo.

However, with him finally figuring out the whole “unscrew the locks from the door” didn’t mean Margo’s bedroom door, but his, he finally gets a grand hint! One which gives him an address that he, in the middle of the night, in Florida, is willing to go to despite not knowing the area. Though, thankfully, Ben talks him out of his madness to find where Margo may be that night and it is agreed upon that in the morning, he, Ben, and Radar will skip school and head to this address written on a tiny piece of paper and placed within the door’s hinge.

Making for a series of chapters where somehow has Ben and Q switch their abilities to be likable, and it seems we are inching closer and closer to Margo returning. Though with this address being somewhere the boys never heard of, and sounding like a crack house, who knows what they may find? Only the next few chapters will tell.


Chapters 17 to 21

Overview

With Margo still nowhere to be found, it sort of makes you wonder more and more: Where in the world is Margo Roth Spiegelman?

Review (with Spoilers)

Like with last week’s overview/ review, I remain into this book solely because I want to know what happens more so than because I like this book. For, quite honestly, I just can’t relate to Q. I don’t know anyone who, if they suddenly disappeared after one wild night, I would obsess over like this. And I don’t know if it is love, lust, or a sense of loneliness which is driving Q to go far beyond even Margo’s parents’ patience for her games, but either way, I really wish these chapters wouldn’t feel increasingly long and tedious to read through. I mean honestly, a part of me wants to abandon this book and just go on Wikipedia and spoil the ending.

Characters & Story

In chapter 17 we head to the location Margo wrote on this little piece of paper and everything is setup for you thinking Margo is dead. They end up in a redneck area, go to an abandoned building, and we are told the place smells like death. Making it so as you are unsure whether she was maybe kidnapped and murdered, or perhaps was looking for a quiet place to commit suicide without bothering anyone, or having the chance of being resuscitated.

But, alas, in chapter 18 it is revealed the smell is just a raccoon. We have been trolled, but with Q thinking Whitman’s words were a suicide note “I stop somewhere waiting for you,” there is still the idea that Margo isn’t amongst the living anymore. So this abandoned building Ben, Radar, and Q have been trying to get into, it is assumed it may well be Margo’s tomb. Despite this notion, however, Ben seems hell bent on getting inside the place, even at the cost of his shoulder, and rams into a board protecting the building, somehow cracking it enough so the boys can get in.

Thus leading to the discovery that Margo has brought Q, as well as his friends, to a place which was a souvenir shop it seems. And despite the business long being abandoned, since around February of 1986, someone seems to have made it a makeshift home. One with labels noting holes in the wall as “Troll Hole” and a warning “You will go to the paper towns and you will never come back.” Something which freaks out all three boys enough to leave the store.

Making chapter 19 a bit more of a solemn chapter for it seems Q has hit a dead end once more. So, with him exploring so many avenues, and not really getting anywhere, he decides to talk to detective Warren about his findings and all he really gets out of that conversation is that he needs to recognize Margo is playing a game here and he needs to stop taking it as serious as he is. Thing is, Q is basically in love with the girl so this is nearly impossible. Especially since his conversation with Detective Warren doesn’t calm his worries that Margo maybe dead.

Though it seems, at this point, as much as people feel for Q, and worried about Margo, they really want to focus on the last few weeks of High School and enjoy them. For with prom coming, and graduation as well, the downer which is Margo’s disappearance is becoming less and less a topic that wants to be dealt with. At least for now. Something which of course upsets Q since as people show signs they are moving on, he is stuck with Margo’s fate possibly in his hands.

However, despite the fish, Lacey in chapter 20 still seems concerned. But she doesn’t help Q’s thoughts by nothing that when people are about to commit suicide they usually end relationships with people they are angry with and give stuff away. Something Margo did before her disappearance. But as Q begins to go deeper and despair, and even snap a bit on Lacey when it comes to her maybe being able to help, he is reminded that not everyone is handling the situation as seriously as he is. For while Radar is still checking online for Margo to maybe reveal herself, overall she has gone ghost.

But being that Q is like Ahab in Moby Dick, he is “a madman railing against fate.” One in which likely he will not have Margo the way he desires, but he refuses to accept this. Though with him talking to Dr. Holden, his English teacher, about the Whitman poem, she reveals it has a bit more optimism than what he sees or Margo too perhaps. Sadly, though, this doesn’t make Q less worried to the point where he can just be a normal guy and maybe enjoy prom with his friends. Instead, he remains a bit of a butthead. Though, at the very least, he decides to be a butthead by himself by returning to the last place he was able to find some sort of essence of Margo – that abandoned souvenir store.

Leaving us with chapter 21, a chapter in which Q just stays in the little mini-mall souvenir store, overnight, and explore. Finding such items as the nail polish Margo was putting on during their adventure, smelling a blanket with her scent, and slowly coming to the realization that he doesn’t know Margo like he thinks he knows Margo. For over the course of his investigation, he basically has been reintroduced to the girl he once knew and has made into this dream girl which may not exist.

Collected Quote(s)

“I think maybe the reason I have spent most of my life being afraid is that I have been trying to prepare myself, to train my body for the real fear when it comes.”

— Paper Towns: Chapter 17 – Page 120

“Although I could understand each word of it, I couldn’t understand anything about it as a whole.”

—           Paper Towns: Chapter 19 – Page 128

“At some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away.”

— Paper Towns: Chapter 19 – Page 129

“Is hope a kind of insanity, or is it the very definition of humanness?”

— Paper Towns: Chapter 20 – Page 134

“A poem can’t do its work if you only read snippets of it.”

—           Paper Towns: Chapter 20 – Page 136

“Maybe she deserved to be forgotten. But at any rate, I couldn’t forget her.”

—           Paper Towns: Chapter 20 – Page 138

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