Can a Book Change One's Life? Essay

838 WordsJan 4, 20134 Pages
Can a book change one’s life and if so, in what way? Before this question can be answered, I must first define manner of change. Does a book change one’s life by changing the way one reads from here on, changing our habits as to what and how frequently we read, such as with a relative of mine who read Susan Orleans’ The Orchid Thief and immediately began to read and collect everything he could about orchids, a subject for which he previously held no interest? Or is change based in how we apply the book in our everyday lives? Is it the story behind these words that inspires us or is it simply time spent in a worthwhile and entertaining endeavor that creates a lasting memory? From my point of view, for a text to truly change one’s life, for actual change to occur, the lessons learned must be universal and the story as influential as the words are eloquent, and even then, the change is incremental and occurs book by book. A friend’s favorite line is from Dickens: "Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.” When she first read these words in Great Expectations, a book she does say changed her life, she had never read anything as beautiful and true as that quote, and all other writing would be compared to it. It altered all of reading habits from that point forward. No longer would she read flat prose and pabulum and think it art. A family member says Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye was a book she read that changed her outlook on reading. She read it during a summer filled with teenage angst and disillusionment, during a time she felt alienated and alone, convinced nobody else alive felt what she was feeling. Then along came Holden Caulfield. He expressed what she felt inside. He seemed like a real person, not just a character in a book. From then on she would compare

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