Lessons of Night

From this book I have learned how to treat life. I cannot pinpoint one exact thing, but I can say I have learned more than I ever expected to learn from a book. Before reading this I thought it would take me years to fully appreciate my life.

It came as a surprise when my views towards life changed instantly. Lesson number 1: Do not underestimate the powers of a book. I have read many books about concentration camps and World War Two, but this one affected me the most. This book was a page-turner. I did not want to set it down once I started it and I didn’t. I stayed up until 2 in the morning on a school night reading this.

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To me the definition of a page-turner includes the words “fiction”. I think that is why this book made me think so much. In my mind I was saying “This has got to be a fiction book”, but it isn’t. To think this could happen to someone is terrible. The way he described what happened was something that nobody should ever have to experience.

He is extremely lucky that he survived and for all the people who didn’t, I am going to live my life to the fullest. Never again will I doubt that the words on a page can change my life. Lesson number 2: The value of your life is what you give it. Once upon a time I considered suicide. No, I wasn’t looking for a way to escape my problems and I’m not abused or anything like that. All I did was consider that I could do it, I didn’t have a desire to, I just knew that was a possibility.

That thought has never crossed my mind again and Night has reinforced that it never will. Wasting my life like that would be wrong. The same concept goes if you are alive too. For instance, I could stop paying attention in school, ignoring my family, treating things with disrespect, refuse to make friends, and overall basically give up on life. I won’t though, because I want people to be proud of me and I want them to like me. As a result of the things I do, people do love me and care about me and I have a reason for living.

Under no circumstances am I saying that my life is perfect and I don’t have to work at it, and that’s the thing. You have to make an effort; don’t expect everything to happen automatically. Life can be wonderful, if that is what you want it to be. Lesson number 3: Humans will do anything they can to survive. Near the end of the book they were in uncovered wagons passing through Germany.

They didn’t have any food or water for weeks. They were surviving off snow. Some people threw bread scraps into the wagons. Everyone mauled each other to get to the bread. A man got some bread and crawled away. His son saw he had bread and attacked him even though the father said they would share.

He ended up killing his own father just for that piece of bread. All throughout the book he talks about how you are just living for your next meal. It scares me to think that maybe if I was in that situation I would be like that too. The victims’ need for food was all they ever thought about and it drove them literally crazy. I didn’t really know the full extent of how selfish humans are.

I have learned that they will kill and be killed for a meal. Lesson number 4: Every little thing isn’t the end of the world. A lot of things we think are so horrible are, in reality, quite petty. Someone breaking up with you isn’t going to kill you. It’s okay if you don’t make the basketball team. In the course of a lifetime these little miniscule things don’t really matter.

We need to think about the fact that there are people out there so much worse off than us. There are people who would be happy to live our lives. No matter how much you think your life sucks there is always someone else whose life is worse than yours. Every time I think “I hate my life” I will say, at least… to myself: At least I’m not in a concentration camp. At least I have a house and food. At least I have a family.

At least I have an education. At least I’m not abused. At least I don’t have AIDS. You should really read this book, because there is so much to learn from this. Please don’t think “I’m not going to read this unless I have to.” I will carry these lessons with me for the rest of my life.

With this insight on life I believe I can accomplish more. The only thing I regret about writing this was that some of the things sound really corny. At least I got to tell you about this amazing book that has so much to offer you.