After watching the movie, I decided it was time to reread a fondly remembered book that I first read back in college, and have already reread once around the time my son was born eight years ago. This was my third look at Ender’s Game, and I doubt it will be my last. If that doesn’t tell you what I think of the book, then nothing else I have to say will.
YES! You should read the book. 🙂
This is the story of Ender (Andrew) Wiggin, a child genius who, at the age of six, is sent to battle school in space in order to learn what he needs to know in order to command a fleet of ships to attacks the Buggers, who first came to earth a century before with devastating results. When I watched the movie, I recalled the book as being very psychological and it was, but actually, not as much as I remembered. More of the psychology was in Ender’s Shadow, which I also plan to reread, and which I recall liking even more than Ender’s Game. But more on that in a few days, after I reread it.
Ender is six at the beginning of the book. He is taken away from his home and his parents and is cut off from contact with them. To toughen him up for command he is constantly isolated by his teachers, who put him through varying degrees of hell to see if he can keep rising to each new challenge. He can and does, but at a terrible personal cost. I won’t ruin the end of this book for those who have not read it, but believe me when I say it is one of the best endings in literature. It was a surprise the first time I read it, but that’s not why it’s so good. It’s so good because it continues to be poignant, even the third time.
Ender is a strange mix of improbable intelligence and innocence. If I were to make one criticism of this books, it’s that I really don’t believe genius children act the way Ender and the other kids at battle school do. It doesn’t quite ring true. But it doesn’t really effect my enjoyment of the story, either. Children have long been misunderstood as being miniature adults, and in the case of genius children it remains tempting to see them that way, even though emotionally they are still children. Besides, there was definitely a sense of innocence here, an innocence that allowed this story to work.
FIVE ENTHUSIASTIC STARS
Title: Ender’s Game
Author: Orson Scott Card