I didn’t read much as a child. Not because I didn’t want to but because I had a very hard time focusing on any one thing at a time. I wasn’t always like that. Before my parents divorced, I was your normal, happy child without a care in the world. After they announced that, “things just weren’t working out” my life changed. I couldn’t focus, and I hardly went to school. I’ve always believed that every human on earth has their own battles to fight. My battle, at the time, was no worse than the next person’s battle. Either way, I was a child and unable to cope with what was forced into my happy bubble. I guess you could say I shut down in a way. My happy bubble became a sad bubble where all I needed was myself and darkness. I just kind of gave up.
After I was told that I would be held back in the 3rd grade something snapped in me. I realized that nothing I could do would change the facts. Nothing would bring my happy world back. But, I was in charge of myself. I had control over my life and my choices. I faced the second round of 3rd grade with a very nervous smile on my face. I was determined to make friends and be a better version of myself. I still had a really hard time focusing but I actually put some effort in this time.
Making it to 5th grade was a big accomplishment to me. I was starting to get back to normal. I had a few great friends and my grades were picking up. We had a book fair at school and I finally decided it was time for me to go take a look. I loved everything animal related but especially horses. So I thought if I’m going to give this reading thing a shot, it might as well be about something I like. I searched for a while before I came across a book with a horse on the cover. I didn’t really take the time to learn what the book was about. I saw it and decided that was it. If I couldn’t finish this book then all hope was lost (coming from the dramatic mind of a 5th grader). The book was called Stealing Thunder. I will forever be grateful for that book. For the first time in years something was able to hold my interest for more than 10 minutes. It was somewhat of a turning point in my life. I finally became interested in reading again. After that book, it took a while to find one that I would enjoy just as much; one that would help me get so lost in the story that I forgot about the real things going on around me. After all, the point of reading a good book to me is to have an experience.
William Styron once said, “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” I recently remembered how true that statement is. In the book that I’m currently reading, the main character dies. I was sad, in a way…heart broken. The story is now being told by the person who was left behind. Knowing how it feels having experienced loss in real life, I’m able to relate to that person even more. It’s almost like he’s me, saying the same things that I’ve always wanted to say. Having that voice in my head still pushing me to live and be the person I was meant to be. Most people would consider me crazy as they have him. So in that way, I don’t feel so alone in the world anymore.
If a book hasn’t captivated you the way some have me, then maybe you aren’t reading the right book. It’s amazing what you learn from reading. It’s brilliant, actually. A book might not tell you exactly how to get to mars but it’ll sure as hell make you feel like you’ve been there. It might not solve all of your problems but at least it’ll remind you that you’re not the only one trying to figure it all out.
It’s ok to get lost in someone else’s world. Matter of fact, I recommend it.