I watched Ender’s Game recently and it reminded me of the book that changed my life. Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to say that it changed my life, but it most definitely changed me. And being a changed person can most definitely change your life.
I read Ender’s Game in high school English. It was surprisingly funny, while at the same time dripping with raw emotion. The plot was the production of a genius. I was amazed at the way my mind seemed to work in new ways when Ender was figuring out his next room in the zero gravity battle room. I was horrified by Peter, but also felt almost familiar with people like him and I felt sorry for him. There are so many subtle parallels to our world today that make it so true, so real to readers.
After reading the book we were assigned to make a project that showed our reading comprehension and how we saw between the lines. I chose to draw a scene and write about why I chose that part of the story and how it related to my life or the world around me.
“A wasp circled her, then landed on the raft beside her head. She knew it was there and ordinarily would have been afraid of it. But not today. Let it walk on this raft, let it bake in the sun as I’m doing. Then the raft rocked, and she turned to see Ender calmly crushing the life out of the wasp with one finger.”
When I was little I used to have this nightmare that I was walking in a battlefield looking for my dad. All around me were soldiers and guns and blood. I finally saw my dad. He locked eyes with me for half a second. And then he froze and crumpled to the ground, rolling down a hill. I woke up sobbing. I couldn’t sleep that night or for any of the next few nights after that. I never knew why I had that nightmare.
Then I had that high school project. I just closed my eyes and thought about why I chose that scene to draw. Someone close to my family went to war when I was little. He came back, and he was okay. But I wasn’t stupid, I knew that it messed with his mind. I knew what war did to people. We all felt it, the horror of death. That’s what I saw in Ender. That’s what Valentine had seen in Ender. We saw that war had made him hard.
When I went to school to turn in the assignment, my teacher invited us to present our projects. I volunteered. I don’t know why I did, but I did.
So I got up there and rambled on about swimming and weightlessness and then I got to the part about the wasp. About the nightmare. My words caught in my throat. My hands were shaking. My face was burning. My lips, quivering. The tears started to stream down my face. “I’m sorry”, I whispered as I stumbled to my seat and plumped down with my head in my hands. My teacher concerned, but absolutely baffled, said, “Umm… Are you okay? Are you really crying?”.
The lunch bell rang. As soon as I got up, crowds of my classmates came and hugged me. But all I wanted was to get away. I wanted to run. I wanted to be free of their hold. They let me go and I walked out of the classroom, breathing heavy as I wandered outside.
Soft footsteps echoed behind me. An arm wrapped around my shoulders. I wrapped my arm around my friend. He whispered, “You made me cry too.” I sighed. I let go of all the air I had pent-up. It was as if with those five words every horrible thought circling in my brain disappeared. I felt like I could go on again. I was okay. Those words were my “Salaam.” I was Ender and he was Alai.
Ender’s Game allowed me to understand and to let go of pain I didn’t know I held. It showed me what a true friend was. It was the book I never knew I needed.
Let me know…
- Has a book ever done something like that for you?
- What are your thoughts on Ender’s Game?