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I married my husband under false pretenses. In his online dating profile, he mentioned that the last book he’d read was The Hunger Games. Naturally I assumed that meant he’d read others as well…but no. He’d only read that one to see what his teenage daughter was into and that’s pretty much the only book he’d read outside of a classroom during his whole adulthood. I’ve been doing my darndest to change that ever since.
On our honeymoon we bought a copy of The Martian after seeing the movie and started reading it out loud to each other each night. He loved it (as did I.) It was the perfect vehicle for proving to him that books aren’t boring. We’ve read about 20 books together since then. Some hits, some misses, some fiction, some non, some of his choosing, some of mine. One of our latest successes was Ready Player One.
Cline’s writing reaches out and grabs you from the very first page. His dystopian world is all too believable and since the hubs is a huge video game fan and was a teen in the 80s all the nerdy references were just icing on the cake.
In the year 2044 the world is a dark and overpopulated place. Most people seem to spend the majority of their waking moments inside the OASIS, a virtual reality video game world created by James Halliday. When Halliday dies he leaves clues to a treasure hunt hidden within the OASIS. The solver of the riddles will become controller of Halliday’s company and vast fortune.
Wade Watts lives in a trailer in the stacks (the definite wrong side of the tracks) and has been obsessed with Halliday for as long as he can remember. When he becomes the first person to find the first clue the virtual becomes very, very real. Now he’s up against some of the most obsessed, powerful and dangerous people in both worlds and he enlists the help of some unlikely allies to figure everything out.
There’s intrigue, adventure, romance, humor, and 80s throwbacks galore. Anyone who lived through the 80s (or knows anyone who lived through the 80s) will appreciate the references to Monty Python, PacMan, Star Trek (all iterations), WarGames, Dungeons and Dragons, Ray Bans, Indiana Jones, John Hughes, HR Pufnstuf, and Rubik’s Cubes just to name a few. Even if you have no idea what any of those things are you’ll still get caught up in the story and cheer for the underdogs right up to the very last page.
Steven Spielberg turned this into a movie that was released this past spring, and last week it was released on Blu-ray. We literally finished the book in the parking lot of the movie theater 20 minutes before watching the show and that may have ruined the experience for us. We both came away highly disappointed that it didn’t stick more closely to the book. It was entertaining but it lost so much with the changes they made (surprising since Cline was involved with the screenplay and producing.) We want to give it another shot now that there’s a little bit of space between the book and the viewing. But I’m curious…have any of you both read the book and seen the movie? What did you think? Should we give it another go?
Regardless, if you’ve got a video game addicted teen (or husband :)) you might want to give this one a look. And let me know if you’ve read anything similar I could pass on to the hubs to try.
(P.S. We’re always looking for suggestions of books to read together so please be sure to send some our way!)
Written by: Ernest Cline
Number of Pages: 375
Publisher: Broadway Books, 2011
Age Range: 13+