Ender’s Game – A Plea

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I need help.  I started listening to the audiobook version of Ender’s Game awhile ago, and I have stalled.  For those that have read it, I have barely met Mazer Rackham and just have learned Ender’s Battle School friends are with him on whatever that planet is called.

Here’s my question – do I keep reading/listening?

I have gotten so bogged down in the depressing pieces that I have found it hard to pick back up.

I was discussing the book with a friend of mine (who recommends I finish it), and I was explaining that the big reason I have a problem with the book is that Ender isn’t really a child.  He’s so young when the book starts, and by the point I am at, he has murdered two classmates, had the weight of the world placed on his shoulders, and been continuously ripped from anything he comes to love by Col. Graff.  Ender does not speak like a child nor is he allowed a childhood.

I love Young Adult and books like Peter Pan because I a firm believer that children should experience a childhood.  So reading a book that has prematurely aged not one but several children is just so hard to take.

My question for you is, do I finish?  Do I wait for the movie to be released and just watch that?  And did you have the same problems when you read Orson Scott Card‘s most famous novel the first time, too?  Please discuss in the comments below!

(You can argue with me about Hunger Games or any of Carol’s books not allowing the characters to have childhoods, but because those characters are older than SIX YEARS OLD, it’s a lot easier to take.  Also, they have a tinge of hope for something better, where I just have never gotten that impression with Ender.)

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4 thoughts on “Ender’s Game – A Plea

    lizbusby said:
    May 12, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    My experience is that Ender’s Game really speaks to people who felt like Ender as a child: highly intelligent, burdened with responsibility, not taken seriously by adults. Not to brag or anything, but I loved it. I was glad that someone finally understood how things really were. (I was an oldest child who parented younger siblings and took religion (perhaps far too) seriously.) The concept of childhood as a time of irresponsibility and fantasy didn’t relate to my experience at all. Sure, I played, but I considered that a time waster, not my primary function. I yearned to do real things, and Ender was the ultimate competent child.

    However, my brother hated it because he didn’t relate to Ender. He was athletic and popular, and smart but not socially-ostracizingly so.

    So, no, I didn’t have a problem with the book when I read it in 8th grade. It definitely comes from a different perspective on childhood, one of children who feel restrained by adults who tell them that they should enjoy their childhood and not grow up. It really helps to have been at least a little of a tortured genius yourself. 😀

    lizbusby said:
    May 12, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Oh, and I think you should finish it. If you can get through, you can read the sequel, Speaker for the Dead, which is no longer about children, so that should help.

    Marisa responded:
    May 13, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    Liz, you’re not bragging, I can fully see you as a little kid much like that.

    While I was also a highly intelligent youngster, I was never really burdened by it – I found it rather fun. My imagination was overactive to say the least, and I was often wanting to be daydreaming, thus finishing the responsibilities quickly to leave more time for fun. And since I was able to teach myself by reading (except for perhaps some math concepts), I was often skipping ahead to stock up on fun time. I am sure being the third of four children helped me feel the need for less responsibility (my oldest brother is perhaps one of the most responsible, organized people I have ever met). But unlike Ender, I enjoyed being smart because it meant I could have a bit more fun with it. It also meant I could feel slightly more entitled compared to my classmates and a bit more special. I was one of those kids. I loved giving the right answer in class and have everyone know that I was going to do that all year long. It was (and still is) a bit of an addiction for me.

    Whereas Ender, because of his extreme situation, is just constantly made to feel abnormal and outcast for how intelligent he is, it also means it becomes a huge burden. This is why I have such a hard time reading it – the kid has no humor. And I get that that’s not him, but for me that is incredibly hard to not only relate to, but as an adult, it is perhaps the most depressing thing I could read in such a young child.

    I’m sure I will eventually finish it, if only because I hate leaving books unfinished,

    Audiobook – Ender’s Game « Breathing Fiction said:
    July 17, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    […] made no secret that it was hard for me to finish Ender’s Game.  I only picked up the book in the first place because of the upcoming movie, and I wanted to read […]

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