Author John Green Warms Up 'Looking for Alaska' - page 3

By Jessamyn Cuneo on January 31, 2006

John GreenGreen's fiancé, who went to the same school as him, says that their fellow peers viewed him as a future lung-cancer patient, because he smoked so much. And so it went that this "huge nerd" became a chain-smoking badass, once free from the stifling public school domain.

"I was actively rebellious," Green says, "I took great pride in not following rules and not 'living up to my potential.'"

However, this transition was necessary to shape his future. "[Going to boarding school] saved my life," Green says. "Everything I've done since is directly because of boarding school."

Green still remains part-nerd to this day, boasting an obsession for anagrams. This fetish is also incorporated in An Abundance of Katherines, among other wild-and-crazy quirks to keep you addicted to his writing.

"I try to write books that are fun to read; as entertaining as they are thought provoking," Green says.

The perks of being a writer continue to surprise Green. "I got to quit my job, that was pretty exciting," he says. "The other day I got recognized on the subway, which was a little crazy, but pretty exciting."

There's a pause.

"Being able to see readers respond to the book, that means more than anything else — you know, the cheesy, dream-come-true shit," Green says.

As sarcastic as it sounds, he's really quite sincere when he says this.

Green is amazingly humorous for a guy whose passions include famous quotes and anagrams. For a quick glimpse of his wit, you can check out his "On the Radio" section of his Web site, He attacks everything from communal tables at McDonalds to the price of Gatorade being higher than gas. Brilliant. Or you could buy Alaska, which will have you laughing out loud in the first chapter.

But Green is not completely cynical and jaded:

"I definitely believe hope is absolute. There's always hope for the enterprise. There's not always hope for you," he says, and laughs, "But for human enterprise. Also, if we all fight like hell, we can keep things from getting worse. If we work really hard, if we're committed to saving ourselves, we can — perhaps — keep things from getting worse."

"Well, maybe leave that last one out," he says, jokingly. It is a bit dreary, but nevertheless — a very real statement worth sharing. Green certainly has a strong hold on reality for a fiction writer.

"I definitely agree with W.H. Alden," Green concludes. "He says, 'We must love each other, or die.' I live my life by that quote."

Be sure to visit the official Web site of John Green —