Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Oh gosh, this is one I should be careful with, because I know it's a beloved classic. But honestly, the title really summed it up for me - quite often I felt like it was literally never going to end and I really wanted it to.

I'm just not a fantasy girl, that was the main problem. I did enjoy some of the descriptions of the places in Fantastica - the many-coloured desert and the silver city, for example. And, rather like Inhkheart, I liked the idea of it - who hasn't wanted to be transported into a favourite book, especially when life isn't treating you very well? But it just kept going on and on with another place and weird character and another and another. Telling the whole story up until Bastian entered it and then starting over again was bizarre to me - I'm sure there was lots of deep meaning I didn't get, but the "Fantastica has always existed/nothing existed until you wished it" thing didn't really make sense to me. And I found Bastian very irritating, although I was happy that he got a good ending (and not just because it was the end :-) ).

It's funny, because I adore The Phantom Tollbooth, which I've just realized is quite similar - rather annoying boy enters a story and meets all kinds of weird characters and goes on a quest. I don't know, I guess it has a lot more humour (I found very little in this one) and it's shorter. Part of my problem with The Neverending Story could also be because it's translated - I seem to sometimes have trouble with translated works (I didn't really like The Little Prince, either, as you may recall).

Oh well, I'm still glad I read it, I've been meaning to for years, to add to my children's librarian repertoire. So thanks to Holly for recommending it!

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