It’s only April, and I think I have already found my new favourite book of the year. And one of my favourites of all time. Sure, there are only about eight more months left until the end of the year, but I haven’t read a book in a long time that spoke to me and that I related to as much as We Are the Ants.
The whole time I was reading the book, I kept nodding at everything the narrator said. I remember thinking I wanted to write a book dealing with the same issues/themes, but then I realized I’d never be able to write a book as well-done and beautifully written as this one. We Are the Ants perfectly captures everything I want to say. It’s basically my thoughts and feeling about the world written in a book.
What is the meaning of life?
“Life is bullshit.”
Wow, way to make an entrance, book. So two months ago, I was in a reading slump. I picked up We Are the Ants, read the first sentence and was hooked. Goodbye, reading slump. But seriously though, that prologue really drew me in. We Are the Ants makes you ask the simple question we all wonder at one point in our lives: What is the meaning of life?
Though Henry (the protagonist) never actually asks that, he skirts around it by asking what makes life worth it. Where do we humans stand in this vast universe? Is our existence really as significant as we believe it to be, or are we another inconsequential little ant in the scope of the universe? Henry believes we are the ants. Our existence is insignificant. Our life is not special. We are not special. Thus, life is meaningless. Living is meaningless.
Henry’s opening monologue really resonated with me. The meaning of life and our existence is something that I’ve constantly pondered. And not to sound cynical (but I obviously will sound cynical), but I agree with everything he said. I have never read a book where I related to everything being said right from the start.
Alien abduction as a metaphor
*potential spoiler alert*
The whole alien abduction situation is an interesting addition to the story, but I don’t actually think it’s happening. I believe it’s a metaphor for Henry’s depression. He seems to get abducted after severe emotional or traumatic moments. The alien abduction represents Henry’s way of coping with his pain and emotions, escaping reality and trying to make sense of the world around him. The countdown to the end of the world is him counting down his days. Henry being naked and stripped down during these “abductions” reflects the vulnerability and nakedness he feels because it’s where he’s really looking into himself and facing his emotions head-on. The fact that he hasn’t had an abduction after his kiss with Diego shows that he slowly sees a future; he’s slowly coming to terms with everything around him and slowly starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
That’s my interpretation… but then again, he could actually also be getting abducted by aliens.
While the book may sound depressing, nihilistic and pessimistic due to the protagonist’s beliefs and viewpoints, I think the overall message is that of hope. If everything seems bad and life seems like it’s not worth living, there are people out there who care about you, want what’s best for you and are willing to listen to you. Never be afraid to ask for help or seek comfort from others, whether it’s your family or friends. You can find meaning in the smallest things.
Goodreads reviewWe Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Trigger warning: assault, abuse, bullying, suicide and attempted rape
“Remember the past, live in the present, and write the future.”
Wow, I absolutely loved this book! It had a beautiful story, was beautifully written and packed a beautiful message. It’s the type of book that will make you think about life in a philosophical and existential way. It’ll make you question (and realize) what truly matters in life.
Basically this story is about a boy who gets abducted by aliens and they tell him the world is going to end in 144 days and he has the power to stop it by pressing a red button.
The plot was great and the pacing was really well done. Everything felt realistic. Of course the alien abduction is one part of the story, but there’s a whole different layer to it that will definitely hit you emotionally. It’s a coming-of-age story that impacted me way more than I thought it would, and I related to a lot of things in this book. I honestly can’t think of anything I disliked. I thought it was going to fall into the trope of an outgoing, larger-than-life guy/girl saving the main character and they live happily ever after, but it didn’t really go that route — not directly and in-your-face, that is — which I liked.
When I started this book, I couldn’t put it down and got halfway through before I finally decided to put it down. I was immediately invested in the characters’ life. That rarely happens to me. Overall, I highly recommend this book if you like coming-of-age stories with a sci-fi twist. Or just like coming-of-age stories in general.
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