A Letter to John Green

Dear John Green,

This letter, although one of many, is written in hopes that you will reply. I say this even though I know that you have an extremely busy schedule, with no time for fan mail. Although, I am not a fan. I am just an ambitious and curious, avid reader that just happens to like 2 of your books. I really hope that you will have the time to read through this and reply to me, if not in a long text even a simple “Hi” would be awesome. Here goes.

The first book I read of yours was Paper Towns. I really liked the book because I could relate to it. And although I am only a sophomore, or will be next month, it seemed vaguely relatable. But more than relatable, it kind of makes me feel like whatever happened in they book would be amazing if happened to me. But of course, as one of my good friends says when I tell her this:

“Life ain’t no story book, kid”

But why I really like your book and it makes me want to experience all the stuff that Quentin experiences, is because that amount of freedom is not possible here, in India. The system of education and high school, here, is mainly focused on scores and grades. It’s the same process over and over with every student, get good scores, top and go to a good college. If you do not get into a good college or do not get into college at all, on that matter then, oops, you failed. But why it really is not possible is because 1. You cannot drive a car under the age of 18 here, and by which time you have already graduated and are in college and 2. No one lives close to each other and everyone is pretty far apart despite being in the same school, which makes it hard to be with friends outside of school which is pretty restricted in itself and also 3. Parents are sometimes, but mostly, very protective and do not let children go on their own much further without prior permission and full knowledge partially because of the lack of close proximity, which is okay by all means but makes the whole prospect of an adventure very limited.

So, when I read Paper Towns, I imagine and relate myself as much as I can to Quentin. Overall, though, the book is also amazing as it talks about many of things that need to be talked about. For example, I really like the main issue that the book is written around: imagining others to be more than they are. It really is treacherous when you discover they are just, them. Everything, indeed, is much less perfect when looked at closely. So, that’s why I love Paper Towns.

The second book I read of yours is Looking for Alaska, which I later learnt was the first book you wrote. I liked it for reasons that are somewhat unknown to me. It was relatable to some extent, that being the portrayal of Miles. It is, specifically, the way he looks up to Alaska that interests me and which I find a bit relatable. However, after reading it I had a question. What exactly happens at the end of the book? The realisations made by Miles Halter were not understood by me. I would be immensely grateful if you could give me an even simpler elaboration of the same.

Finally, I ask you about where you get your ideas. I understand, from what you said on your website, that you do not from where you get them but I believe there must be something that usually inspires you to form an entire novel on an issue so small but visible. And also, I love writing. I might not be good at it, but it helps me to express myself. I would love to write a novel. Some advice on the writing process would be appreciated.

I will leave you with some of what I have heard my friends say about your books. They say they like your style of writing because you talk about things that are usually not talked about like the “interesting capitalization” part in Paper Towns. They also say that they find your works very intriguing and captivating, as do I. It’s almost like, once you start reading, you cannot put the book down without finishing. And trust me on this, because I read both your books on two consecutive days, two days before my final English exam.

Thank you for reading my words. I hope to meet you and Hank Green someday, and also the cast of the movie — Paper Towns. I hope for a reply from you, soon.

Yours truly,

Naman Kumar

(Founder at ReadStudio, writer at The Quintessential Quadrilateral and blogs at namankblog.wordpress.com and medium.com/@namank)