For Millennials. By Millennials.
John Green’s novel ‘Looking For Alaska’ is one of his finest works. The book is about love, infatuation, friendship, and teen angst. The book, published in 2005 is a depiction of Green’s early life.
Green himself, had always struggled to fit in with his peers and describes his middle school experience as “pretty bleak”. After high school, he asked his parents to shift him to boarding school but the situation did not improve. In fact, it was his time at the boarding school that inspired the story in his book, Looking For Alaska.
Many of the major events that occur in the book, including the tragic ones, indeed happened in real life too.
Looking For Alaska | What’s The Story?
The series premiered on Hulu, on October 18 this year. ‘Looking For Alaska’ is set in Alabama, at Culver Creek Academy, a boarding school where Miles ‘Pudge’ Halter, the main character of the story goes to. Here he meets rebellious Alaska Young. Along with two friends, “Colonel” Martin and Takumi Hikohito, they navigate the struggles of high-pressure school life under strict authority figures.
We see the story through Miles. His obsession with ‘famous last words’ makes him an interesting character and story-teller.
Hulu’s Mini-Series Adaptation
After fourteen years, finally, a screen adaptation of the popular book is ready to roll as a mini-series featuring 8 parts. This comes after there were no hopes for a Looking for Alaska movie.
Executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are the creative duo behind this TV adaptation. This 8 part mini-series is in some ways different from the book.
John Green is famous for tapping into the very depth of feelings and encapsulating them into words. However, the producers of the show have given more focus on the bigger picture in the drama. In some ways, the mini-series on Hulu adds a unique emotional nuance in the story.
Another difference is how the book reflects a simpler, more old-school approach. But the TV-series is more ‘coming of age’. It’s explicit in exploring central themes like sexuality, privilege, consent, and mental health, although it is similarly set in 2005.
Fortunately, the mini-series gives additional space and screen-time to characters than the focus they were given in the book. The school’s culture, the students’ shenanigans, are all given center-stage which makes the experience even better for readers (and non-readers).
Who Is In The Cast?
For a series-adaptation stemming from a book in which characters are so well-developed, casting is a crucial and critical decision.
The protagonist Miles Halter is played by Charlie Plummer. Whereas, the role of rebellious, self-destructive Alaska is played by The Society’s Kristine Froseth. Timothy Simons will be acting in the role of ‘The Eagle’. Meanwhile, Jay Lee stars as Takumi and Denny Love as the ‘Colonel’.
Froseth does not depict Alaska’s physical appearance, but she embodies the character’s impulsive and mysterious personality.
Overall, the entire cast has done justice to the characters that means the Looking for Alaska will be enjoyable. Especially for the ones who’ve already read the book.
The Mystery about Alaska…
DO NOT read ahead if you don’t want spoilers. ONLY read this if you’ve read the book already.
The ending of the novel was a mystery regarding the death of Alaska Young. We never knew how she died.
In the FAQ section of his website, John Green writes,
“Well, when I was writing Alaska, I wanted the end NOT to give us what we want, which is of course to know whether Alaska’s death was a suicide or an accident. The truth is that in our lives we are all going to encounter questions that should be answered, that deserve to be answered, and yet prove unanswerable. Can we find meaning to life without those answers? Can we find a way to acknowledge the reality (and injustice) of suffering without giving in to hopelessness? Those are the questions I think Miles is confronting at the end. And I wanted to argue that through forgiveness, it is possible to live a full and hopeful life—even if our world is saturated with injustice and loss.”
Similarly, the TV-series adaptation will also encompass an ending along the same lines. Alaska’s story’s conclusion will remain as vague as the book itself. Except that everything about this will occur in the first episode as opposed to the last.
You can watch the series on Hulu.