Ender’s Game, of which the movie version is out in the theaters right now, is a YA novel about a brilliant boy who’s been drafted to train as a soldier to fight future alien attacks. It’s classified under Science Fiction and, on Amazon, under Science Opera, something I have never even heard of. It’s also the kind of book that is ordinarily not my cup of tea and not up my alley.
I couldn’t admit that I wasn’t really into science fiction until I was an adult. Growing up I hung out with a group of girlfriends who were obsessed with Star Wars. Succumbing to peer pressure I suppose, I followed them blindly to stand in long lines to see every sequel to Star Wars 6+ times. Secretly I wondered if I was missing something.
So over the years I’ve pretty much stuck to non-fantasy reading, having a hard time even with dystopian fiction and magical realism.
Until a couple of years ago, when more than one intelligent adult friend told me that I HAD to read The Hunger Games. Dystopia and dying children. You pretty much can’t turn me off more than that. But I gave it a go, because I trusted my mother-girlfriends who all seemed to react to the series with an emotion I had honestly never seen when it came to books.
I won’t say that I LOVED The Hunger Games the way my friends did, but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it enough to have bought the whole boxed set (though my interest didn’t sustain me enough to finish the third book…probably because I had spaced the books out too much) and to have waited for and watched the movie soon after it opened.
The best part, though, is that after reading The Hunger Games I noticed myself paying more attention to books that I normally never took a second glance at. Other dystopian literature. Stories about war and terrorism. Manga. Science stories. Books about religion. Stories about places I had no familiarity with. Writers whose nationalities I knew little about. Writers whom I’d always considered intimidating. In fact, the less I knew about something, the more likely I was to want to check it out.
I’ll admit that if Ender’s Game is only about aliens, I may not be so interested. But it’s also about the pressures to perform and satisfy adults and the isolation of being taken away from your peers to train to such a high level. That story line appeals to both the mother and daughter in me. And the aliens? Well, it’s an excuse to let my hair down, and I remember how good that’s felt the few times I’ve done it 😉
What is normally your cup of tea and not your cup of tea? Have you tried to read beyond your usual genres? If you have, how has that gone?