*Note: this post does contain my thoughts on the book, but I’m taking the scenic route to get there:
I heard of this book through blogging–I’m not sure that I had heard of it before then. But then my sister read it this year for her sophomore English class and a coworker listened to it and I realized I needed to pick it up soon–even given my apprehension of science fiction novels.
While at the bookstore with hubby, he expressed some interest in this one and I jumped at his interest since he hates reading. I’ve mentioned before that he is dyslexic and struggles with the difficulty and frustration of reading. Harry Potter was actually his first book–one that I loaned to him when we were next-door-neighbors in college.
So, we got the book and when we were driving to my dad’s over Memorial Day weekend (a one a and a half hour drive each way), he suggested that I read it to him instead of reading my book to myself. Last summer I read Harry Potter 6 to him while on our various cartrips–a re-read for both of us before the new one was released–and even though reading aloud is exhausting, it makes the trip go much faster for each of us.
During that weekend and then this past weekend on our three hour cartrip to his parents house, I read much of the book to him. My mouth gets tired and I get tongue-tied, but I love love love reading to him. Because this is a part of my life that I rarely get to share with him, I revel in the moments when we can discuss the book and get excited over the same parts in the novel–speculating what will happen and exploring the themes presented. I was sad when we got home on Sunday with 40 pages left in the book, especially when he decided to finish the book without me.
The bottom line is that because I read most of this book aloud, my experience was very different from if I had read the book to myself, by myself. We got to know the characters together, I got to explore the voice of each character when trying to bring each alive. My favorite parts were when the characters were in heated discussions or when little Ender was having personal moments of crisis and both of us were able to hear the passion that comes out of the text. Although I have found that my mind wanders too much for listening to audiobooks, I have fallen in love with the experience of reading aloud.
Thanks for indulging me. :)
Ender’s Game is the story of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a young child of six who is taken away from his family in order to attend Battle School. There he will learn the skills he needs in order to fight the Buggers who are threatening earth with destruction. He leaves behind an abusive brother and a loving sister to join a world he knows nothing about–one where he will have to grow up rather quickly.
At the Battle School, Ender is pushed to his limits, but his brilliance shines through and he quickly excels through school leading groups of other children in battle simulation–or games–and shows the adults his promise as the one who could save the human race from the Buggers. Back at home, tensions are building in the world as the Russians and the countries of the Warsaw Pact are putting pressure on the other nations. Ender has a lot resting on his shoulders–will he be The One that can save the world and defeat the Buggers? If so, will peace between the worldly nations hold or will hell break loose without the common fear of the Buggers holding the different factions together? And will it ultimately cost him his childhood?
As I mentioned before, the characters come alive in the novel. It is difficult not to fall in love with little Ender (who doesn’t seem very little after he stops acting like the child he truly is)–he is vulnerable and afraid, he loves and is passionate, he feels and has hope. And while we don’t get to see too much of his brother, Peter, and sister, Valentine, these characters develop throughout the novel providing a strong foil to Ender. There is also a wide cast of other characters that I loved getting to know through their interaction with Ender. Hubby and I had some great laughs over the dialogue–and we were reminded often that first and foremost, these characters were children when they called each other names such as fart eater. :)
I have two qualms with the novel. First, because I am not a visual person I had a tough time imagining some of the battle or game scenes in the novel. This is where hubby came in because he is incredibly visual. I would stop reading and he would explain to me what the students looked like while in battle. If I hadn’t read these parts aloud–having to read every single word–I probably would have done a lot of skimming. I found myself doing this while reading the remainder by myself and didn’t get quite as much enjoyment. Second, I was a little disappointed with the almost ending. Hubby was telling me about the huge twist, but when I got to it I wasn’t surprised by it. However, a few pages later my twist came and I was rewarded with chills. We didn’t agree on liking the ending, but I loved it. The ending is beautiful and hopeful (sort of) as it brought everything full circle.
So, thanks to those who reviewed it before me: