“If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger–
If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early–
If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless–
If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won’t understand what Bastian did next.”
I am behind on my book reviews. I actually read Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story way back at the beginning of August and REALLY REALLY wanted to talk about it right away, but other posts took precedence.
But now I’m going to talk about it. And I’m SO EXCITED.
I’d like to say that I read The Neverending Story for some deep, meaningful reason, but honestly? I read it because it was quoted multiple times in Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart, another wonderful fantasy book. I loved those excerpts, and thought that maybe, just maybe, the whole book would be just as good as those quotes.
And it was.
The Neverending Story is the tale of a young boy (named Bastian Balthazar Bux) and his adventures in a land called Fantastica. And if you’re anything like me, you won’t even want to read the book after that last sentence. I was super-excited for this book but less than five pages into it, I was already like, “WHY AM I EVEN READING THIS? IT SOUNDS RIDICULOUS. I SHOULD JUST STOP RIGHT NOW.”
Because it gets better. Some of the names may be a little silly, but the rest of the book is totally worth it. The premise, in particular, is great. I can see why Funke quoted it so much in her own works; it’s very similar in concept to Inkheart but it was written much earlier. In Inkheart one can read characters out of books – in The Neverending Story, Bastian reads himself into a book.
The interconnected stories are brilliant, too. Bastian travels in and out of many others’ stories, and each one is wildly different from the next, but together they’re all connected by one boy.
And the quotes! Oh, the quotes. They’re wonderful. I posted my favorite at the beginning of this post, but there are loads more. Pretty quotes, happy quotes, sad quotes, profound quotes.
My favorites are all about reading. And stories. And I think that’s why I love this book so much, actually. It’s a love letter to books. It’s about a boy who is so captivated by a story that he literally loses himself in it. It’s about connecting with characters and feeling like they’re your best friends and missing them once you have finished the story.
I read The Neverending Story for… well, not much of a reason, really. But I’m really glad that I did, because I think I just discovered a new favorite book. And if you read it, then you might too.