Orientation Leader talks about Ready Player One

Ready, Player One is a futuristic novel that follows an 18-year-old named Wade from Oklahoma City who is in search of a fortune that was hidden inside a video game from the past.  In a world that is fascinated with the life and style of the 1980s, Wade learns many things about both the world that he is living in and also himself.   

Freshman Orientation Leader reading Ready Player One

The book chosen this year for the Bearkats Read to Succeed program has been my favorite book chosen since both my freshman year and also the years that I have been an orientation leader. As an education major, one of the main points that our professors make is that students are not going to want to learn if they are not interested in the topic or lesson. Similarly, I found that this book was very undemanding to read because I was interested in the storyline.  

Ready, Player One partook in many themes that seem important to the people of not only my generation, but also other generations as well.  Some of these themes included video games, social media, shopping (which no one is opposed to) and everything ‘80s.  If anyone has an obsession with the 1980s, this is definitely a great book for you to read. From video games to books to music and movies, this book is filled with ‘80s nostalgia, and you can tell that the author, Ernest Cline, is also obsessed with the decade.

The characters were not way over the top in this book either.  Wade, the main character, was very easy to relate to because he was not too naïve.  Wade was smart enough to know what he wanted and also smart enough to go out and seek it.  Also, the ways that many of the characters in this book think are similar to the ways we think.  They are concerned with things such as what people around them are thinking, how up-to-date their social media pages are, and even what their future is going to look like.  Reading a book about a character like the people of my generation made it much more easy to understand and also much more fun to read. I felt as if I was in the story right along with Wade as a “Gunter” (someone hunting for clues to the treasure, also called Easter eggs) myself.  

What made the story even more interesting is that most of the relationships that Wade built throughout the novel were built online.  Many people of this generation can relate to Wade because we have been able to make friends all over the world due to the internet and social media.  Long gone are the days when we picked up our landline telephone to call our friends after a long day or write letters and mail them to a loved one in another country.  Ready, Player One completely understood that.  

One of my favorite parts of the book was the way that students went about going to school.  Students attended school in the OASIS, a virtual-reality world that the characters enter to escape the real world’s harsh conditions. There were different worlds that you could travel to in the OASIS, as well as shopping centers and hangout spots. All that the students would have to do is put on their visor and gloves in order to enter the world. In the OASIS school, students had the opportunity to take field trips and participate in many hands-on activities; learning was much easier because they were active and engaged in what they were learning.  Even if the students were actually sitting down in their rooms, OASIS made them feel as though they were engrossed in the activities occurring.  After reading Wade’s explanation on how he attended school, it made me consider my own classes that I have taken online.  While school in the OASIS may never happen in my lifetime, it was fun imagining that I was there right beside Wade visiting the discovery King Tut’s tomb.  

Ready, Player One also is filled with many valuable lessons about life. One lesson taught is that sooner or later, you will be pushed out of your comfort zone. That is why I think that this was the perfect book for incoming freshman. When I came to college for the first time, I was very intimidated by the huge buildings and older students. I thought to myself that there was no way I was ever going to fit in here and that it was perfectly fine to go to my dorm room right after class every day, because I was scared of interacting with people in a world that I did not know. Similarly, Wade went through the same thought process of not wanting to interact in a world that he was not familiar with. Luckily, both Wade and I were able to change our train of thought and realize how much we were missing out on.  Being pushed out of our comfort zones obviously benefitted both of us for the best, and it is one of the best things that could happen to a person.      

Ready, Player One was definitely worth the read.  After reading this book and becoming so absorbed in Wade’s world, it was hard to go back to realty where there were no Gunters and no OASIS.  Luckily, I was able to relive this book a while longer by watching ‘80s chick flicks on Netflix.  I really hope that the Class of 2018 enjoys this book as much as I did and that each and every person will learn something valuable from this novel.