If I were to sum this book in one word, it would be “unbelievable.”
This was my first Zusak book. I have been awed by the genius in it and that is why I bought without hesitation his other book, The Book Thief. And one other reason why this book is personally special: thinking I lost it and in my flurry to find it, I set into motion the end of an adolescent war.
No doubt, this book is instrumental to an unspoken treaty and truce. But of all my books that were thought lost, why did it have to be this one? Maybe there was something in this book that I have forgotten. So, upon finding it again, I thought of re-reading it. (Next paragraph is kind of a spoiler. You’ve been warned.)
I’m fine, Marv,” I tell him. “Just thinking of some things.”
“That’ll kill you,” he warns. “You’re better off not thinking at all.”
In a way, I wish I could be like that. You’d never worry or care about anything that really mattered. You’d be happy, in the same pitiful way someone like our friend Ritchie is. Nothing affects you, and you affect nothing.
“Don’t worry, Marv,” I say. “I’ll be alright.
Somehow, the previous passage is a rough summary of what Ed—the main character—aims to be. Maybe he wasn’t totally like that but he was definitely on his way. No ambition, hardly any desires, and a monotonous life expressed in routines, habits, and schedules. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
But all that familiar stuff began to change when Ed did something unbelievable. And that one act caused more dominoes to fall than he’d care to have fallen.
Care. Four letters, one syllable, and a big deal for many people. We want it. We need it. We deny it. We hate it. We see it from many angles, interpret it in many ways. And despite its variety, we still have trouble doing it, showing it. Personally, I believe that underneath all this repression, caring still finds a way to be said, even in the oddest, strongest, and rudest forms.
…It takes a lot of love to hate you like this.
Guess that’s why we value the familiar, why we stick with our routines, habits, and schedules. Caring is taxing. It can and will demand a toll. And some people cannot pay for it, much less deal with it.
Now, I am not the person to say that caring for others will always bear good results. Not all trees flower or produce fruits. Others don’t even grow.
Yet in spite of the reality, there are people who can—and will—persist. They will exhaust their means. They will do what they can even if it means the uncomfortable, unreasonable, and unfamiliar. Despite what others say or do or don’t do. There will always be people who will care.
Why would people care? Small things can prove to be big in time. Constant dropping wears a stone. And light is always worth fighting for.
Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of.
What we have here in this world are opportunities and possibilities. One may predict the outcome but there’s a chance that life will throw you a wildcard. I hope that we all realize that when that moment arrives. And we act on it accordingly. What may follow may just be outright extraordinary and unbelievable.