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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

LOVE, HUMANITY, DEATH & EXISTENTIALISM

My book review / thoughts for The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

Who Am I?
I love a good book that makes me think, and the other day, I read a fiction book that I actually highlighted.  Highlighted people!  That means something to me.
The book is Called The 5th Wave and it's about a bunch of really smart and almost immortal (in that, they don't die, unless someone kills them) aliens taking over earth.  And there is no Last Stand, no leader giving a big speech that unites the whole world, nothing like that.  The earth is almost wiped out in 4 waves and only a few are left.  And that's where the book begins.  (now you know why it's called The 5TH Wave)


In the 4th Wave, you can't trust that people are still people.  But you can trust that your gun is still your gun.



Trust Me.
Now, I like my guns (yes, I am American), but I am definitely a peace loving hippie.  My hubby loves to comment that we should just wipe some people out and start over.  He doesn't really mean it and I think he says those things just to tease me.
Because of the reality that civilians pay the biggest price in war, I think war should be the means of last resort.
Anyhow... that's a subject for a different day...
In the book, the aliens can take over a person's body.  And even though that person looks and acts like a human, he's actually a very sly and smart alien.  He'll* act like a human and say anything to you to get you where he wants you.  So you can't trust him.  Even if you've known him since birth.  That's right, since birth.
So, it gets to the point in this book, where an inanimate object becomes the most trusted object.  Can you imagine what life would be like at that point?  Where you can't trust anyone around you, but you can trust something that holds no emotional value.  It can't tuck you in at night, it's can't tell you things will be okay.  But it can kill when you need it to kill.
When you get to that point, you know the aliens have won.  If you can't trust the people in your life, then what is the point of living?  Without others, can your life be fulfilling and meaningful?  So, who are the 'aliens' in your life?  If you can't trust them, you need to find better people.


"Why are you here?"
"You mean here at this camp, or are you being existential?" I asked.
His eyebrows drew together into a single harsh line, and he said, "Huh?"
"If you'd asked me that before all this happened, I'd have said something like, 'We're here to serve our fellow man or contribute to society.'  If I wanted to be a smartass, I'd say, 'Because if we weren't here, we'd be somewhere else.'  But since all this has happened, I'm going to say it's because we're just dumb lucky."

In the first 4 waves, the people who survived were pretty much just lucky.  They had the right genetics, or lived in the right place.  I love this line because it teaches me something.  Sometimes things happen just because.  There is no answer to - 'why did this happen to me?'  It just did.  We waste a lot of time looking for reasons why things happen in our life.  I think it's because we either 1. need something to blame, or 2. we want to stop doing what we are doing, in order to make a change in our life.
If you're doing it because of #2, then keep doing it.  Sometimes the way we behave does create consequences.
But if you're asking why because of #1, then STOP IT.  It doesn't even matter if someone else created a problem in your life.  Blaming someone else doesn't change the situation.  But you can change the situation.  DO something different.  Make changes in your life to create a different outcome.  And if there's nothing you can DO, then change it in your mind.  See the positive.  Sometimes you will suffer, just 'cause.  And if that's the situation that you're in, then make it the best-est just 'cause situation ever.


We'd stared into the face of Death, and Death blinked first.

I think that the person in this life who can say this, is a very lucky person.  Personally, I've never been in a life or death situation (unless I blocked it out, haha) but I have had my life affected by death.  And I wish with everything inside of me, that Death blinked first.  Appreciate those around you, and treat them like it's their last day.  At least let them know that you love them.
And if you've survived Death, consider yourself lucky to be alive and act like that makes a difference.


"Do you know how to tell who the enemy is in wartime, Cassie" His eyes darted around the shack.  Why couldn't he look at me?  "The guy who's shooting at you -- that's how you tell."

Because the aliens in this book were people on the outside, it became very confusing who were the 'good' and who were the 'bad' people.  In fact, it drove me crazy!  Cuz sometimes I thought I knew who was who, and then the author would slip in something that would make me doubt myself.
As a PLH (peace loving hippie), it's very easy for me to judge the bad guys who hold the guns.  You know, the ones in the videos who happily shoot other people from their helicopters, or the guy who tells the story about how he shot man, woman and even kid in the Vietnam War because you never knew who your enemy was -- even the kids.  Especially the kids.  Or maybe it's just the people who don't do things the way I want them to do things.
What are the masks we wear?
But things aren't so black vs white.  When you grow up, you realize how much the world is filled with wonderful beautiful swirls of grey.  Sometimes the person closest to you is the one pointing the gun.  And sometimes the one closest to you, is the one you can trust the most.  Who is pointing the gun at you?

To rid his new home of humanity, he had to become human.
And being human, he had to overcome his humanity.

What makes us human at our core?  Is it how we look, think, dress and communicate?  What kinds of things are holding us back, making us behave inhumane?


It's their world now, and we're the aliens.

When the majority of the population is dead, and the rest are just aliens, the humans become the aliens.  WHAT?!  See how life can just flip on us?  And, all the sudden, you no longer recognize anything around you.  If you've never read the book 'Who Moved My Cheese', you need to.  It talks about how sometimes, the 'cheese' in our life (it assumes that we're mice) changes.  The things that were once fulfilling, and gave us nourishment.  They can be work, dreams, people.  Whatever makes you happy.  And sometimes, the mice keep going back to the same spot, over and over, looking for their cheese, although it's not there anymore.  Other mice immediately start the maze over, looking for the new spot of cheese.
I can't tell you how many times I've taken a step back in my life and told myself - you're still looking in the same spot for that piece of cheese!  Life has changed, but you're still doing the same habits and looking in the same place, but it's no longer fulfilling.  But if we can realize this faster - Hey, my cheese has moved, I need to do something different - then our lives will be less painful and we can move on quicker.

Somebody might say that I'm not the only one lying in the enemy's arms.

(spoiler alert!!) One of the characters in the book is an alien.  Who fell in love with a human.  Told from the point of view of the humans, the aliens were the foreign, and bad.   If you told it from the alien's point of view, then how would the story change?
If you looked at your enemy's point of view, how would your life change?

I definitely don't have the answers to all these thoughts, but I love that this book made me think about them.   You should check it out, or at least, read another book that makes you think.  It's what makes us human, after all.

My name is Fleur.  And this is my blog.




*In the book, aliens can be male or female, but I used 'he' just for easiness sake.
**In no way am I saying that I am the perfect embodiment of these statements.  In fact, this post should begin with 'Dear Fleur,'
*** Go check out my book, where Tristen will ask lots of questions like this.  When he's not fighting for his life.

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