Disclaimer: I LOVE BOOKS.
There are books that you like. Books that move you to your soul. And then, there are books that just change your whole outlook on life, and mold you into a completely different person than you were before reading them.
For instance, I had just suffered my first (and only) heartbreak when I read Looking for Alaska, the debut novel by John Green. In the novel, the protagonist, Miles, falls in love with a girl out of his league (adding to the troubles is the fact that she already has a boyfriend); and just when his chances seem a little better, towards the end of the book, he suffers a huge tragedy, which I won’t disclose for fear of spoiling it for future readers. The last few chapters show him dealing with the loss in a mature fashion. There is a section where he has to write an essay on The Labyrinth (you’ll get the reference when you read it), he remarks:
Before I got here, I thought for a long time that the way out of the labyrinth was to pretend that it did not exist, to build a small, self-sufficient world in a back corner of the endless maze and to pretend that I was not lost, but home.
And then, in a typical coming-of-age fashion, he realizes: The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.
If that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.
Another book that helped my reconcile with my past (more on that later), was Steven Chobsky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The story is told through a series of letters the main lead, freshman Charlie, a character quite similar to and yet different from Miles himself, writes to an unnamed acquaintance. Socially awkward, he is smitten by Sam, a senior. But the main difference of the story lies in the topics tackled by the books – Green elaborates on love and loss, while TPoBaW is a general commentary on life, friends, and even tackles the issues of abuse, addiction, and homosexuality very sensitively, and, much like Alaska, carries a twist, albeit mild. Here is an excerpt from Charlie’s last letter:
There are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. And know these will all be stories someday, and our pictures will become old photographs, and we’ll all become somebody’s mom or dad.
But right now these moments are not stories.This is happening. I am here and I am looking at her, and she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story, you are alive.
And you stand up and see the lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder, when you were listening to that song on that drive with the people you love most in this world.
And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite.
So go ahead, read those books, and message me if you want to talk about them (or others!)
Comment the names of books that changed your life below, and I’ll be sure to read them and reply!