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Who is the most annoying John Green character? September 14, 2012

Posted by ccbooks in Debate.

Ana recently had the chance to talk to John Green via a call-in to one of our local bookstores. Characteristically, her question was along the lines of “Why did it take you so long to write as a girl when all your boy characters are so annoying?” Green, of course, had a perfectly good answer, but my first thought when she told me this story was “Wow…that’s true…they ARE really annoying!” So,  in the spirit of true sisterly argument, here is our debate over who is the most annoying John Green character.

Cecilia: I say it’s Colin, from An Abundance of Katherines. 

Ana: I vote Will Grayson (either of them, but particularly the straight one) from Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Cecilia: Well, technically you would have to blame David Levithan for the gay Will Grayson. Green only wrote the straight one. I vote for Colin because of all the self-pity. Plus, the footnotes and anagrams just get annoying after awhile. At least Will Grayson doesn’t show off all the time.

Ana: Well, part of my opinion may be prejudiced, because I like Abundance of Katherines so much. It’s the only one with a happy ending, so to speak. But for some reason, I find Colin hilarious instead of annoying, whereas to me, straight Will Grayson has absolutely nothing going in his favor. He whines essentially all the time, in spite of having pretty much everything he could want.

Cecilia: I don’t think you can say Will has everything he could want. At least at the start of the book, his best friend pretty much ignores him after falling in love (whereas Colin’s friend Hassan is entirely dedicated to their friendship) and while similar to Colin he has major insecurities, he is more reserved and doesn’t complain about them all the time. You could also make the argument that both Abundance of Katherines and Will Grayson, Will Grayson have happy endings, but that’s another debate.

Ana: But Colin does have a reason for being depressed. It’s the reaction you expect from a teenage boy going through that situation–in terms of realism, it’s spot on, in the same way that fifth book Harry Potter was annoying, but a real person. Will doesn’t have much of a reason, it seems. He’s just perpetually morose and cynical.

Cecilia: But isn’t that a pretty typical reaction of a teenager to life in general? I feel like adolescence causes a perpetual feeling of being a fish out of water–which readers accept if it comes from a character who is going through specific stress, like Colin or Harry– but what about the stresses of everyday life, like just walking down the hall at school?

Maybe the best conclusion to this debate would be to acknowledge that whether they are prodigies, ordinary students or have just been dumped, teenage boys are just annoying in general. I guess we won’t be seeing a huge change in Green’s protagonists anytime soon then. Good thing they make us laugh even when we get annoyed!


1. Abby - September 16, 2012

I spent the entirety of Paper Towns praying that everyone would realize how obnoxious and attention-seeking Margo was and just move on with their lives and leave her to her possible suicide.

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