When we chose to read Paper Towns by John Greene, I was excited. I was hopeful that the book would be similar to Fault of Our Stars. And that just didn’t happen. To say I was underwhelmed by this book would be an understatement.
Quentin is a high school senior who does everything he is told. His parents love him and trust him. Margo lives in the house next door and has a very different upbringing. She is a problem child – if you will – who runs away multiple times. Her parents are fed up with her behavior and just want her gone. They aren’t the loving parents that Quentin is used to.
One night, Margo shows up at midnight to Quentin’s bedroom window and beckons him on a night of a lifetime. Margo has a few grudges with some of her friends and wants to deliver special gifts and damage to their houses. At the end of their adventure, Margo goes back home and Quentin can’t wait to talk about their adventure the next day at school. Well…that doesn’t happen. Instead, Quentin embarks on a journey to find Margo. Where did she go and why did she leave?
Now it’s time to get to the discussion questions:
1. Why do you think Margo picks Q as her accomplice on her campaign of revenge?
I think Margo picks Q (Quentin) because he is reliable and she knows that he will do whatever she asks him to do. I also think that Q wants to have some adventure in his life, and secretly loves Margo – so he will do anything to be with her.
2. Do you think Margo wants to be found? Do you think Margo wants to be found by Q?
Margo herself said that she doesn’t want to be found, but I find that hard to believe. Everything about Margo is about how she is perceived by others, and so I think she does want to be found, even if she might not believe it. I think parts of her wants Q to find her, but again – she didn’t really want to be found. She wanted to leave Orlando without any questions and just cut that part of her life out.
3. Why do you think Q makes the decision he does at the end of the book? Do you agree with his decision to turn down Margo’s invitation?
Before I answer this question, I want to say that I could not understand how a parent would let their child run out of their high school graduation. I know that they might not think it is that exciting or important, but little do they understand…it is for parents. That just didn’t make any sense to me – and I was shocked that they just let them all go.
I think that Q knows that Margo and him have no future. They wouldn’t last as a couple and he has college to attend instead of living a life as a bum with Margo. As much as he loves Margo, I don’t think he could actually see them ending up together in New York. I do agree with Q and his decision. He wouldn’t have done well with Margo because he needs structure and he wouldn’t have gotten that with her. She’s too free spirited for him.
4. Do you think that Margo meant to give her friends a false impression of her true self?
You know, this is hard to answer. I think it’s really hard to change someone’s perception of you once they have that idea of you in their head. It might not be right but it’s hard for people to change their minds. I do think that Margo could have tried to give her friends the right impression of her, but she didn’t do that. Even if she tried, I don’t know if it would have done much good. Like I said before, once you have an idea of someone in your head, it’s hard to change it.