Tuesday, June 7, 2011
"From the moment you are born, you start to die."
"The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. You'll live to be a maximum of one hundred. Life isn't worth the bother!"
So says Pierre Anthon when he decides that there is no meaning to life, leaves the classroom, climbs a plum tree, and stays there. His friends and classmates cannot get him to come down not even by pelting him with rocks. So to prove to him that there is a meaning to life, they set out to build a heap of meaning in an abandoned sawmill.
But it soon becomes obvious that each person cannot give up what is most meaningful, so they begin to decide for one another what the others must give up. The pile is started with a lifetime's collection of Dungeons and Dragons books, a fishing rod, a pair of green sandals, a pet hamster - but then, as each demand becomes more extreme, things start taking a very morbid twist, and the kids become ever more desperate to get Pierre Anthon down. And what if, after all these sacrifices, the pile is not meaningful enough?
In a Nutshell: Nothing is a novel that will ask you to question everything you believe about the world and the meaning of the life that you live. Definitely a modern day Lord of the Flies.
Putdownability Factor: Very low. Its a short book (only 227 pages) and I read it in one sitting.
Cover Love: Meh. Its simple just like the book. May or may not attract a readers eye.
Why did I pick up this book? It was recommended to me by one of my teen librarians. She said it was "the best book she ever read that she never wanted to read again." With a description like that how could I NOT read it?
It seems that I've been reading a lot of psychologically heavy books lately. And this book may just be the heaviest of all. Nothing is a book that is hard to explain because its such a simple story, but with such a powerful message. Plus its hard to say anything without completely spoiling the book. I'll try to keep it simple. Haha. :P
What matters? Anything? Nothing? Is the world truly meaningless or are there some things that ARE worth something? These are all questions that are raised in Nothing. And they are raised in quite possibly one of the darkest and most morbid fashions possible. What starts out as an innocent game, quickly escalates into so much more.
So does the question get answered? Does anything REALLY have meaning? In the end its up to the reader to decide. I know some people who read this book and just finished it feeling empty. Honestly I didn't feel that way. This book made me realize how blessed I am to be alive and really feel like I have a purpose in life. I'm a Christian so I really do believe my life has a purpose and a meaning. Not everyone is going to love this book, and not certainly not everyone is going to end up feeling the same way I feel about it. But I definitely think its a powerful story and it raises some important questions. 4 out of 5 ice cream cones!
Who would I recommend this to? Because of the dark content, teens 13 and up. But even then I would make sure that the person would be able to handle the story because it is VERY dark.