Jesse's Reviews > The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
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M 50x66
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Jul 03, 2012

it was amazing
Read in January, 1991

This is one of my absolute favorite books from childhood, one of only a few I've re-read as an adult and found just as enchanting as when I was little.

Most people are probably familiar with the movie, which is a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the story. However, the movie ends roughly halfway through the plot of the novel, leaving out what amounts to all of the book's major themes.

The novel itself is amazing: Bastion is a boy who discovers, and steals, a book from an old book shop he stumbles into. He hides in the attic of his school, reading the story of the land of Fantastica (called Fantasia in the movie). In this book, Fantastica is under threat from a mysterious force (or perhaps entity) called the Nothing. The Nothing proceeds through Fantastica as decay, emptying the magical land of the creatures and places that made it special. The cause of the Nothing is the sickness of Fantastica's ruler, the Childlike Empress. Bastion follows the story of Atreyu, a boy warrior sent to discover the cause of the Empress' sickness.

Throughout the course of Atreyu's journey, and Bastion's later travels, the author explores what it means for things to be created, what parts of yourself go into the creation of a story, and what it means for memories to fade and be altered. It's a coming-of-age tale, but replaces the normal loss of sexual innocence with the loss of the illusion of permanence. Bastion must grow to realize that he can't hold on to everything in his past, and must let go those things which are preventing him from reaching maturity.

It's brilliant all around, and a must-read for pretty much anyone who like stories, or books.
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