Looking For Alaska & The Labyrinth

How do you get out of this labyrinth of suffering?

Alaska Young

Sometimes we forget the smallest details of a book or we find hard to remember who was who and what happened at a specific moment of the plot. It’s absolutely normal. Especially if we didn’t like that novel in specific.

It’s hard to forget a person, even when it lives in a fictional universe. Some characters are so well built that we’ve got the impression of considering them real or at least they make us wish they were alive in this world. It’s the case of Alaska Young, the protagonist of this tiny novel and the series that aired this October.

Alaska’s first appearance will blow your mind, as it did with Miles “Pudge” Halter, the new kid in school who falls in love with her instantaneously. She’s intelligent, gorgeous and has one of the most beautiful smiles in the world. Oh, I almost forgot: her room is full of books and she calls it her “Life’s Library”. Also, she’s a feminist and a party animal when she’s not too mysterious.

Miles Halter memorizes people’s last words. He finds them fascinating, inspirational and puts them at the base of his axiomatic system. François Rabelais’s last words, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”, are his mantra and the reason why he starts this journey for the unknown. Chip Martin or the Colonel, as he is called by his group, is the smart kid in school that will go to the end of the world for his friends. His only flaw is that he puts honor above anything, being very stubborn even when he should make a compromise. Takumi is also mysterious, he is the cool guy and the one that knows everything that happens in the campus. Together, they are Alaska’s best friends, but still have trouble trying to understand her.

One thing Alaska is almost obsessed about is the labyrinth in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s historical novel “The General in his Labyrinth”, a story about Simon Bolivar. As Miles is trying to find the Great Perhaps, Alaska wants to find the exit from her suffering. She hides her unhappiness with success until…

As much as I loved Alaska in the book, I adored her in the series and I have to admit that the adaptation won my heart over the original. Wow, that was hard to say. Alaska is even more fascinating in the show, she’s magically portrayed by Kristine Froseth and you can see the story from her perspective, whereas the novel presents only Miles’ point of view. Chip (Denny Love), the little genius at Culver Creek boarding school, is funny and will make you laugh even in the darkest of times, but I didn’t find this while reading. In the series they gave more depth to the characters.

Overall, Alaska is a captivating character that I’ll never forget and I do recommend both the novel and the series, but I prefer the latter. If you want to read the book, you should do that first and enjoy the show after. You will laugh, you will cry and then you will find yourself thinking about the labyrinth: is there an escape? Do I choose to live in it or try to get out?

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