Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

image from LibraryThing
I have certain holes in my reading background. That may seem a bit odd - since I have been a pretty active reader for most of my life, and a teacher librarian in a past life.  But - I grew up in an elementary without a library.  I visited the public library often - but I didn't have anyone suggesting books for me - so I fell into a pretty shallow rut.  By the time I got to Jr. High I was more interested in romances.  My high school reading career consisted of all basal readers. I never read a novel in a class until college.

All of that is a sort of excuse for the fact that I have never read Ender's Game  - until now.  I have heard about this book for years and I knew I would get around to reading it sometime. I have always enjoyed science fiction - so that wasn't the reason I haven't read it.

Then about a month ago I walked out of the HS library talking to a student. I asked about his favorite book and he said that Ender's Game was the best book ever written. Pretty high praise!  I went home and ordered it from Amazon immediately.  When I heard it would become a movie that spurred me to read it before allowing myself to see it!

And what did I think?

I liked Ender.  I used to teach elementary kids and I could see them in Ender.  I felt sorry for his isolation and his destiny and his understanding of his fate.  I felt sorry for the way he was manipulated and cheered as he attempted to break the rules to fit his desire.  But, even in that he was a pawn.

That was what I didn't like. Maybe it is because I've read too many YA books - but I am a bit tired of the 'stupid adult' syndrome.  This syndrome takes a twist in this book because the adults are more than just stupid - their seeming omnipotent knowledge just proved them even more impotent.  I got tired of that. They were always the bad guys - from Ender's parents to all the 'teachers'.  I am not a fan of that philosophy.

And then there was the game.  But which game is really Ender's?  He is involved in numerous games. And Card drew those out in minute details.  Until near the end and suddenly time sped up and the final scenes of the game were over in a flash of description though they took many years to actually play out.  I am not a fan of that technique either.

So - I am glad I read this.  But, I would not be able to agree with that high school student's praise.  It was enjoyable and thought provoking and an important book to have in your reading knowledge bin.  But, not one of my favorites.

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