Author: Janne TellerNothing was the most thought-provoking and disturbing books I've read in a long time--possibly ever. The combination will guarantee a Nothing a spot in my head for a long time.
Release Date: February 9, 2010
Pages: 240 (HC)
Most Appropriate For Ages: 14+
Where I Got It: From the library
"From the moment you are born, you start to die."
"The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. You'll live to be a maximum of one hundred. Life isn't worth the bother!"
So says Pierre Anthon when he decides that there is no meaning to life, leaves the classroom, climbs a plum tree, and stays there.
His friends and classmates cannot get him to come down, not even by pelting him with rocks. So to prove to him that there is a meaning to life, they set out to build a heap of meaning in an abandoned sawmill.
But it soon becomes obvious that each person cannot give up what is most meaningful, so they begin to decide for one another what the others must give up. The pile is started with a lifetime's collection of Dungeons & Dragons books, a fishing rod, a pair of green sandals, a pet hamster -- but then, as each demand becomes more extreme, things start taking a very morbid twist, and the kids become ever more desperate to get Pierre Anthon down. And what if, after all these sacrifices, the pile is not meaningful enough?
A Lord of the Flies for the twenty-first century, Nothing is a visionary existential novel -- about everything, and nothing -- that will haunt you.
While Nothing was told from the view of one of Pierre's classmates, there wasn't really a main character in Nothing--more of a group of kids we never really got to know. There is no doubt in my mind that this was intentional. While some will find this to be one of the novel's weaknesses, I found that throwing in too many personalities would just make everything in this book too much to process.
This book is not one you'll read it one sitting, this is one you'll want to put down, think about, and pick back up. For YA, this was a very philosophical novel. It will make you look at your own life and look for your own Meaning, and that's definitely not a bad thing.
Plot: Incredibly dark and though-provoking.
Characters: Pretty much nonexistent, really.
Writing: Nice. Sparse.
Ending: That last page... *shudders*
Kid friendly? Eh. I think a lot of this will go over younger teen's heads. Content-wise, there's mentions of sex, child abuse, as well as some...um...dismemberment.
Should I read it? Yeah, you should.