The Neverending Story, can we consider this one a classic? Written in 1979 by Michael Ende, it became an instant classic and the inspiration for three movies - one remembered as excellent and two with dubious results. I also found out, with a little research, that there was a short lived TV or Mini-series based on the book. From the reviews, it seemed best to stay very far away from that one. If you're interested in the movie, go ahead and click on this The Neverending Story [Blu-ray] link(Yes, I have a Blu-Ray player and use the power of my will to force readers to purchase one as well... you need it!). But, if you want to see a movie with an actor that committed suicide later in life click on this The NeverEnding Story / The NeverEnding Story II link. The sequel was one of the creepiest movies that I saw as a child. The actor, Jonathan Brandis, has really freaky eyes! But I've talked about that already - HERE.
Back to the book, The Neverending Story is about a child whose attempt to hide from the school bullies sends him on a journey through the alternate world of Fantastica. Bastian, the boy, steals a book out of the shop that he hid himself in and then hides up in the school attic. As he starts reading, the world seems magically alive and in dire need of help. I'm sure that everyone has seen the movie, so why give you the entire plot?
For those that have seen the movie and not read the book, let's just say the movie really takes place in about the first 120 pages of the novel. The rest of the Neverending story is a continuation of where the movie sort of left off. I guess you have to take certain liberties to create a movie from a book. For instance, Atreyu happens to be a green human-like creature and not just a tanned boy! I did learn that I've been spelling Falkor wrong all this time. My first and only cat was named Falcore, after the luckdragon in the movie. After 20+ years it's good to know that I had it wrong all this time.
But what a book! It's a little lengthy at points, but the story flows well. Think Arabian Nights meets Aesop's Fables meets Grimm's Fairy Tales. It's an adventure through one world with many themes. That happens to be the point of Fantastica - dreams of the human world make up the realm of Fantastica. It's not as dark as Grimm's, but there are some points that are eerie, some that are sad, and some that are life lessons (e.g. Aesop's Fables). It definitely reminded me of my childhood, but I would recommend to all ages. I'll be watching the movie soon to see how much they actually got right.
Rating: 7.5 CBs - I won't be reading it again soon, but it was a good novel to add to the list. I got the Penguin version of the paperback and like the look just a little more than the image on top. It also doesn't appear that Ende wrote a sequel to The Neverending Story or, if he did, it was never translated from the original German. And it's tough to write a review without giving the story and most of my opinions.... that are based on the differences between the book and the movie, or major plot points. =\