What if I tell you that one of my earliest inspirations for reading books was a movie? A movie I saw as a kid… And since the day I clued onto the fact that books can be converted into movies (and sometimes vice-versa), I have been searching for the book.
Reading a book you liked as a kid again is like watching the TV serial you liked after a long time, or like going to visit your school again. After the initial euphoria is over, you have every chance of getting disappointed. But “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende lived upto all my memories and expectations.
Bastian Belthazar Bux is really not looking forward to attending school. So, when in a bookshop he cannot avoid the pull of a book called “The Neverending Story”, he runs away to read the book in school’s attic. The book tells him the story of a land called Fantastica, where the world is in danger from Nothing and the Empress is desperately ill. It is up to a Hero called Atreyu to go on a quest to find a cure for the Childlike Empress’ disease.
The only cure found is for a child from human world to give the Empress a new name (as nobody in Fantastica knows a “new” name). After initial doubts, Bastian enters the story, and saves the Empress and Fantastica. The Empress gives him her symbol of power, Auryn, with the description on back saying “Do What You Wish”, to recreate Fantastica with his stories. But doing what you wish is equivalent to having unlimited power. One more danger is that with each wish, Bastian forgets a memory from Human world, and he needs those to get back.
I can tell you how the characters of Bastian, Atryu, Falkor the luckdragon and the Childlike Empress are one of the most endearing ones I have found (well, most of the time for Bastian). I can tell you how the book, even though a bit long given that it is a children’s book, captures your attention back with a tidbit or two of quotes or events. I can tell you how the book connects combines and the human world and Fantastica seamlessly, with the book containing itself within itself. I can tell you that I haven’t had so much trouble to find one “Quote of the day” from many worthy ones, since I read the last Harry Potter. I can tell you how the Childlike Empress treating good and bad characters in Fantastica alike is a good metaphor for how the writer should treat all his characters. I can tell you how the book tells you about the power and importance of books, reading, stories, imagination etc.
But, I will let this excerpt from the first chapter do my work:
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.
Final verdict: The movie is about the half of the book (till Bastian giving the Empress a new name) if my memory serves. But in any case, this is one of the books you should read if you like stories and books.
Quote of The Day:
Every real story is a Neverending Story.
– Carl Conrad Coreander