Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Great Perhaps

Miles Halters is a 16 year old who loves reading biographies and memorizes last words of famous people. So when he read about Rabelais' last words "I go to seek a Great Perhaps" he tells his parents he wants to change his school and go to a boarding school in Alabama, the one his dad graduated from; to seek his own Great Perhaps, and to leave his boring, not very social life in Florida.

His roommate is Chip, the super smart scholarship kid, and through Chip he meets Alaska, Chip's best friend. Alaska is smart, beautiful and mysterious. And also a dare devil of sorts. Together with Chip, she introduces Miles to a life of pranks, smoking and mischief. 

As you read you notice that everything is headed by a number of days Before something. There's a sense of foreboding that builds up with every day, and the second half of the book is titled after, with the days also meticulously recorded. It makes me think how sometimes, when something happens in our own lives we split our histories in Before Something happened, and After, and you go on for the rest of your life, with that calendar in mind. 

I loved the character development, and the way the story unfolded. It seemed very realistic. And now, I'm off to read more about Rabelais. On another note, I couldn't help but find Miles habit of reading biographies weird. I mean, since he doesn't read any of that person's work. I mistakenly read Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk a few years ago, and stopped a few pages in when I realized it was a biography. I then went and read My Name is Red, and intend to read more of his book before reading his bio.