Enders Game has been made into a film (Ender’s Game (2013) – IMDb) and I am not sure that I should go and see it.
I have read the book more than 30 times. There is something about the tragic irony that keeps me coming back to visit.
I love the book, I know it well and I have a vision of what the characters look like, how they talk, who they are.
So, like all other lovers of books, I ask myself do I want to see someone else’s interpretation of it?
My expectations will never be met. I can’t even articulate all the things I would want there to be in the film to make it “right”.
Yet I am curious to see what they did with it. What did they leave out? Did they change the end? Will they get into the deep issues? Or will I be disappointed when it turns out to be a hyped up “he’s the ONE” film like The Matrix?
Whatever happens when I watch the film, there are two themes of the book that are particularly close to heart at this point in my life:
- Expectations for the future
- Controlling behaviour – how to influence and get the behaviour you want from people. Sometimes, especially at bedtime, I wish I could control people, especially my kids.
Growing up I had a vision of what my life would be like. Based on the wonderful example of my parents, I knew that my kids would be great: cheeky but obedient; responding to my brilliant parenting style; disciplined yet fun and loving.
The reality is nothing like this. Yes the elements are all there: I am loving, we have fun and use humour in a positive way and yes, there is discipline. Yet the shape and form of my life, how I am as a parent and what my children do… well, it’s not like the vision I had. The pictures don’t match.
For a start, when it comes to parenting, my husband and I don’t agree on everything (ok, this excellent opportunity for make up “activities” is not restricted to parenting. We disagree about a lot of things, but that’s for another day).
This is another way that the pictures don’t match:
My children have a different interpretation of my parenting which I call “wilful misunderstanding”. They do not respond in the way I expect or hope for; they will not be controlled. They even dare to make their own choices and develop their own personalities. They do not listen to my wisdom and obey!
For example at bed time, my side of the conversation often goes like this:
“ok, another 5 minutes and then it’s time for bed” (yes super nanny, I listened to you and give them that time to adjust)
“come on then, brush your teeth and put your pyjamas on.” (imagine my firm and authoritative voice. Thank you mum, you showed me how that is done. That should work).
good, you’ve brushed your teeth.
now get changed
Come on, get on with it!
…and without all that prancing about half naked!”
Quite some time later…… kids are in bed, books read, cuddles given.
“Ok, stop talking now. It’s time to sleep”.
Mum, where did I go wrong? Wasn’t I always a wonderful child that did as I was told? (ok, don’t answer that).
My expectation of parenting did not come true but it is sweeter than I ever imagined it to be. I did not know that the same face that could make my blood boil in an instant could also melt my heart two seconds later.
I still dream that my parenting will be brilliant; that my kids will grow up to be happy and able to look after themselves and others. I dream that I am helping save the future of mankind.
So ok, maybe this film will not melt my heart and I expect some changes to the story will boil my blood, but it is just a film. It is only someone else’s interpretation of a book and it will not meet my expectations. But maybe I will like it anyway. If I don’t? It’s ok, it’s not the end of the world.