When I was born I was given a book called Life. I have been reading it almost every day since. Admittedly, sometimes it goes on the shelf and gets neglected for a bit, but so far I have always come back to it. The funny thing is though, that even after all these years I have only just started to really appreciate it and get into it. In fact, I can’t honestly remember the first section of the book at all.
Life isn’t a short book and it’s not an especially easy book. Ideally it would take two or three run-throughs to start to fully understand it however, due to the sheer length you will only get through it once. The author is unknown although there are a number of claims that name the author as God, Allah or Shiva and many other names. I will not try to assign an author myself, but as you progress through this masterpiece, I’m sure you will draw your own conclusions. You may not make up your mind until you reach the end of Life.
There are more characters in Life than in any other book known to man, and each character no matter how incidental has their own motivations, story and their own purpose. This is no drugstore paperback. You are delving into the richest world ever conceived here. The character development can be good at times, yet sometimes the characters can seem flat and two-dimensional, predictable and uninteresting. But the conflicts, oh the conflicts, it’s enough to make an English teacher scream! There are conflicts on every conceivable level, between the characters, between the characters and the environment and even within the characters themselves. It’s a wonder that anyone manages to function at all!
Storywise, Life can be hard to follow at times. There are so many stories happening at once, all inseparably intertwined, that you may find yourself struggling to keep up and know which bits to concentrate on. This is made even more daunting because at the start you jump into an already established and incredibly detailed world, and the story of Life continues long after your final paragraph. In truth, although you could concentrate on the core story, you would be missing out on most of the beauty of Life. Trying to follow everything that is happening is difficult, but well worth the effort as you will share in the dreams, tragedies, and loves of many unique characters.
There are people who dedicate their entire lives to the mammoth task of analysing Life and all the themes, references and concepts you can find in it, and I respect them deeply for that. Believe me when I say that this book covers every theme you could possibly imagine, showing it from every angle you can think of and many you may not have. There is a risk though that you could get so caught up analysing Life that you forget to take the time to enjoy it. If so, you are the kind of person who likes to meditate on the deeper meanings and what lies between the lines. I’d suggest you make sure you learn to enjoy Life before you try to pull apart the meanings. Remember, you only have time to read it once.
Don’t be put off by the complexity and length. Life can be incredibly enjoyable. Admittedly, it also has its tough parts but, as with all the best literature, you get out as much as you put in. In Life, you will laugh, you will cry, you will love some characters, and hate others. It will inspire you, and beat you down, fill you with bliss and annoy you intensely. But one thing is for sure, by the time you’re done, you will never be the same again.