Being human is more than good enough in Paper Towns



There’s been a bit of a stir this week around a TV interview on a morning show in Sacramento of Cara Delevingne, who played teen girl enigma Margo in this Paper Town.

The co-anchors dissed the actress for her answers and disinterest, and cut the session short.

John Green, the novelist from which the plot was taken, defended his friend on his blog. Well, you know the man can write. Previously his YA books gave Hollywood last year’s great film The Fault in Our Stars. His defense that the TV folks wrongly called her Carla, and asked her if she read his book (while most times male co-star Nat Wolff was asked when he read it) and told her she looked tired is right on.

It’s a bit of life imitating life nevertheless.

Green’s story, adapted for the screen by Scott Neustadter and directed by Jake Schreier, is all about young people finding themselves amid others throwing things at them that don’t please them.

Margo grows up in an Orlando subdivision across the street from Wolff’s Quentin, fast friends from the day she moves in, adventerous as he dares to follow her on their little-kid bikes. Once they reach high school, she’s one of the cool kids, a mysterious girl who acts out whenever while running with a crew that includes best friend Lacey, the school beauty played well for her frustrated never-noticed smarts by Halston Sage. His eyes are always on her from afar as he pals around with best friends Ben and Radar, played with just the right amount of nerd intellect and awkwardness by Austin Abrams and Justice Smith.

Then one night Margo climbs in Q’s window and asks for his help as a driver and companion a trip of retribution. She’s discovered that her boyfriend has been cheating with the No. 2 girl on her list, and thinks Lacey’s known and hasn’t told, and has drawn up one hell of a plan to get back and everybody.

Q helps and feels alive. But the next morning, Margo is gone, and the disappearance stretches until the cops appear and question Q. He’s drawn into the drama by clues he’s sure Margo has left just for their newly rekindled love, and the three amigos, with Lacey and Radar’s girlfriend in tow, take off on a trip to a Paper Town in upstate New York to find their friend.

They discover a lot about themselves, and the handful of teens around me in the sparse Thursday matinee crowd in the Regal Cinemas theater in the Syracuse Shoppingtown Mall seemed to enjoy the trip, although lone old man me was the only one to laugh out loud at some of the more humorous moments. Yeah, I found their convenience story sprint to stay on schedule to make it back for the prom funny, as well as the clean T-shirt reveal moment of World’s Greatest Grandma for Ben and Confederate Flag for African American Radar.

The moral of the story was easily transferable through generations, too. No spoiler here, really. Don’t build somebody up to be bigger than life, or you’re bound to be disappointed by their human frailties.

It’s a good YA message, and I like John Green even more for backing up his friends for being human in real life, too.

Have you read any of the John Green novels, and if so, what do you think of them? Are you familiar with any of these young actors, and if so, what impression have they made on you? Do you think the Sacramento local morning TV show hosts owe Cara Delevingne an apology for their interview questions, and if so, should she go back on the show?

28 thoughts on “Being human is more than good enough in Paper Towns

  1. i haven’t read his books or seen his films, but they have sounded intriguing to me. sad about the cara interview, no matter what, it is the duty of a news crew to be professional and kind to their guests i believe. good for the friend support of a friend.


      • I liked the book and movie The Fault is in Our Stars. Great acting and plot. Not as much of a tear Jeter as a real story that held my interest.
        The interviewer should be grateful for guests and I felt this went sour and showed rudeness, Mark.
        So glad you laughed and enjoyed this movie. Oldest daughter liked it and called it “quirky” and “sensitive.” I trust your opinion and will see this possibly later on or library waitlist. Just finished 3 off waitlist. ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy your weekend and the full moon, some more. . .

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm, not familiar with the situation. Abusing guests on a show has always turned me off. The guest is there by invitation and the only reason to abuse them is to try and gain ratings by stepping on the guest’s head. I loved the time that Olivia Newton John told Johnny Carson she was a lesbian and he responded with a snide remark like : Too bad. She promptly smacked him across the face and left . Perfect!


  3. I love all his books, DL. He’s a genius. My favorite would be An Abundance of Katherines. And yes, they owe Cara an apology – she’s amaze balls!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. John Green is a local. He’s brilliant. I adore everything I’ve read of him or heard him say. I’ve read and enjoyed many of his books, this one less than the rest. Sassy and I both thought it dragged on a bit long toward the end, but we do still want to see the movie, probably on video. We are both also disappointed in the casting choice for Margo. not that the actress isn’t lovely and talented, and certainly named Cara, but that she doesn’t seem to fit the description of the character in the novel. I’m sure it’s difficult to find talent that matches description. Still, I’m sure we’ll enjoy the movie ๐Ÿ˜€
    PS: Apologies are always good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t have any preconceived notions of Margo going in, and Cara seemed like a talented actress to me, Joey. I shall defer to yours and Sassy’s judgment, having read the book and seen her in the trailers, though. Interesting take. Thank you!


  5. Oh gosh, yes, Mark, saw that interview and really thought they asked her the most insipid questions. I mean really Sacramento. I think they were lucky she didn’t just go on a tirade on them! I thought she was polite as she possibly could be given the circumstances!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh definitely. I didn’t know that. The story I saw showed her as ‘the hero’ but I really didn’t read many of the comments. Really, a sad commentary on the news staff there. You would think they could come up with some intelligent questions.


  6. I have not read any of John Green’s books, but after reading this post I might, because he sounds like a really stand-up kind of guy. Maybe the actress was just having a bad day, maybe she was really exhausted, and maybe the people on the Sacramento television show had not been courteous or engaging prior to the taping and the “magic” just wasn’t there for all involved. Sounds like a really uncomfortable situation. And they couldn’t even get her name right. I would suspect I might be disinterested as well.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.