When a book is completely right.
August 21, 2013 § 1 Comment
My ten year old son and I have just finished reading The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. Altogether it took us about six months. Most of the time I read aloud, but sometimes he does to practice his speaking skills. We don’t read every night; in fact sometimes we go for weeks without reading if life gets particularly busy.
Sometimes, a book is read at exactly the right time in life, and it seems that it has been written especially for us. And that has been the case with this book.
It is about a boy, Bastian, who has low self esteem. Who is called a ‘weakling’ among other names by kids from his school. The day we read that page was the same day that Samuel had been called that exact name himself. I couldn’t believe that life could be so serendipitous.
A few days later we read the scene where Atreyu leads his horse into the Swamps of Sadness, and where eventually his horse refuses to continue on. That was a time when Samuel was feeling a lot of sadness and despair. We both cried when Atreyu had to say goodbye to his horse and leave him to die. Samuel’s face was buried into his pillow.
Later on in the book, the main character enters the story and has many adventures. He transforms into a brave, strong warrior. Atreyu proves his loyalty and friendship in the final moments of the book in helping Bastian return to the ‘real world’, despite being treated badly by Bastian. Much like how our families continue to love us unconditionally, even through our own bad behaviour.
When Bastian finally returns, he can express his emotions more confidently to his father. Just as Samuel is slowly learning to do with Sol and I. He remembers his adventures in The Neverending Story and they give him confidence.
Samuel was so uplifted by the ending of the book: my wish is that it has given him hope that he can transform this way too. It is an amazing book.