Everybody Sees the Ants, however...
I've seen this book a million times at the library. I've scrolled over reviews. I've picked it up and perused the synopsis multiple times. It never interested me.
I thought it was literally a modern boy living in the Vietnam War era...in his head. Yeah. That confused me. But now after actually getting into the story, I see that it's much much more than that. It's the story of someone choosing to hold on.
|i've used this before but I don't care. I am Makoto. Makoto is me.|
Lucky Linderman is not all that lucky. He has a squid for a mom, who only swims and swims and swims, and a turtle for a dad, who only cooks and cooks and cooks. He is the POW/MIA cause in a POW/MIA t-shirt because his grandpa was a POW/MIA and he is doing everything he can in his dreams to rescue that POW/MIA. Or is he?
You see, in the real world, it sucks to Lucky Linderman. Like, really sucks. His only friend tries to get him to be friends with the guy who bullies him (whose name rhymes with Vader...seriously, dude. Red flag) which opens up more opportunities to be bullied. His parents have no backbones and can't/won't stand up for him when he needs them most. His school sends him to counseling because something that started out as a joke and then turned into a sort of reality. The world is against him.
The only place he can escape to is in his head, in his grandfather's jungle.
That is, until Lucky escapes to Arizona, where he develops as a person, actually makes friends who build him up, and realizes that no one is perfect. Still--as his grandmother used to say: "the world is full of a--holes. What are you doing to make sure you aren't one of them?"
The lesson of this book blew my mind. As someone who's had struggles in various friendships (though not on the level that Lucky endures), the mantra of "friends act like friends" made me go "YES!!! You've got it right!" Lucky's character development hit all the points it needed to for it to be believable. And his parents. Oh my gosh, his parents. I wanted to punch their lights out at the beginning. As the story progressed, however, I loved Lucky's mom, and even his dad had some things going for him toward the end. After all--you can't change a squid and a turtle in one day. Also-- "no one can pee on your soul without your permission." People can treat you like complete and utter crap, but it's up to you whether you let their words affect who you truly are.
I can't talk about this book enough. The writing style, the characters, the arc of the story, the imagery...the way both males and females are held to standards that no one can live up to. The author shows that every person suffers in their individual ways, no matter who they are or how they behave. Some people put a mask up, others try and fix themselves with pills, and others find their grandfather in a jungle across the ocean.
The biggest thing I loved about this wonderful book is that Lucky once wasn't sure how he could keep living. And yet, this kid, this sad, beaten kid finds the strength to face who he is and who hurts him and make things at least a little better. He keeps going, even when his face is a giant scab and when his only friend is his grandfather. I admire that in him. He is more than just the POW/MIA cause--he's a hero.
You can probably imagine why I love this book so much--it didn't make me think of the great ones that much, although Lucky and Matt would probably get along famously, but it made me think about the logistics behind my book. It brought up ideas and truths that I hadn't addressed or that I'd touched on before. Basically, it gave me feels, and I love a book that has that wonderful power. Way to go, A. S. King. You rule.
After reading Reality Boy, I didn't think I liked A. S. King's writing style enough to read her other books, but now I think I'm willing to give them a shot. I Crawl Through It sounds very intriguing, and the Ask the Passengers preview in the back of Everybody Sees the Ants caught my curiousity bone, so we shall see if I can get my hands on a copy of it. Thank goodness for libraries.
Look at me, actually blogging on a semi-sort-of schedule! Compared to the past year, that's pretty impressive. *pats self on the back* Are there any books that you didn't think you'd like, but ended up loving? What about authors who have surprised you when you didn't loooooooooove their other books? Let me know in the comments below!