Book Reviews

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson – Book Review

“If you knew the world was going to end but you could prevent it, would you?”

I’ve asked myself this question time and time again. When I’m really angry or upset, my answer is an obvious no. When I’m content and surrounded by genuinely good people, my answer is yes. And some days, I just don’t bother to care. In the end, it’s all hypothetical. This is a fiction book, and it is highly unlikely that me, or anyone else in the world, will ever face that dilemma.

I admire a book that makes me ponder so hard and so long on a single question, though. I was not only fascinated by the premise of a boy who gets constantly abducted by aliens and is given the choice to save the world, but by the writing style. Everything is woven so perfectly, painting a vivid image. The miserable world of Henry becomes so real and so relatable. It is impossible not to fall for the characters surrounding him, and to hate plenty of them. This book is filled with relationships, with family and friends and lovers. It is full of people who love and hate and abuse and hurt and heal. It is filled with philosophy and science and theories.

Henry is battling the grief of his dead boyfriend. He isn’t in a very good state of mind, but he’s trying. He has a secret relationship with his bully, and he is constantly being abducted by aliens, which he nicknamed “sluggers.” Then, he meets Diego, a new student in school who is an optimist, despite having a few secrets of his own. Their friendship  grows throughout the story, and ultimately becomes more, although with complications. Henry also has to reconnect with his old best friend, Audrey, and his complex family members. Meanwhile, Henry continues struggling with his dilemma of whether or not the world is worth saving.

I loved reading this book. The journey it took me on was fascinating. But it didn’t deliver me with the answers I’d hoped for. I didn’t know the reason behind the things that happened in the story, but then again, I don’t know why anything happens in real life. I guess it’s reasonable to feel just as clueless in fiction. Despite the vagueness near the end, I felt some closure. I got an ending that made me think even more, that will possibly linger in my mind.

“We may not get to choose how we die, but we can choose how we live. The universe may forget us, but it doesn’t matter. Because we are the ants, and we’ll keep marching on.”

This was good food for thought. It was an enigma, like the beautiful Diego. It was a joy, like Audrey. It was a pain, like Charlie. And a nightmare, like Marcus. But It was worth the read. Although I wasn’t entirely fond of Henry, I understood him. Sometimes grief fogs our minds, and that’s not our fault.

This is worth reading simply if you wonder about life in general. Life on earth, as part of a galaxy, as part of the universe, in which you are as small and relevant as an ant who simply carries on.


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