Dear Alaska Young


You deserved better. That’s not something I say very often, mostly because I have very mixed feelings towards the word “deserve”. In general, I think people use it too frequently. Humankind, in my opinion, doesn’t deserve anything, good or bad. We cling to that sense of entitlement- that good people “deserve” to have good things happen to them, and bad people “deserve” to have bad things happen to them. When in reality, we just exist.

I think you’ll understand that? It does play into the idea of the labyrinth, after all. We are simply dropped into it, no judgment, no reasoning. It’s just what existence is and all people, good or bad, exist in their own labyrinth. So, why do I say you deserve better, when clearly people shouldn’t expect to deserve anything?

It’s not because of how Miles and your other friends treated you. Nor is it a comment on your author, killing you off mid story, mid sentence of your life. It’s just that… I guess it’s just a personal feeling, not a grand-existential-finding-meaning-in-the-universe thing. Your story helped save me. Not in a big turned-my life-completely-around kind of way, nothing like that. But you helped me understand myself, see myself in a different light. And I just wish you had lived to have the same thing happen to you.

You were a mystery to be solved, Alaska, at least when I first read your book. I didn’t see you as you really were- the lost, lonely, frightened young woman who wanted desperately to be forgiven. To feel like she mattered, that she was good. That she was worth loving. I couldn’t see those things in you, because I didn’t want to see them in myself. It was easier to see you as an enigma. To see my own mental state as an enigma. It was easier to focus on a Great Perhaps that to look hard at the people around me, and at myself.

I say you deserve better because… you were there for me at a time when I couldn’t be there for myself and the people around me had no idea what to do for me. You were a mirror that helped me see myself more clearly, and because of that, I was able to begin to heal. And despite everything I hate about the word “deserve”, I wish you had lived to see yourself begin to heal. I wish you had learned what it was like to believe you deserved love. I wish that you had lived to forgive yourself. Does the universe owe you that? No, not really.

But after all you’ve done for me… I feel like I do.

Love always,

A friend



Alaska Young is from the novel Looking for Alaska by John Green


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