Friday, 24 September 2010

Books Remembered #3: Christopher Pike's Sati

This is a new feature where I reminisce about books or even series that I read over and over again. Or even a book read once that changed the way I looked at life. It can be a book from childhood or a modern series I just can’t get enough off. It’s not a review of the book(s) but merely remembering the impact it had on me and how it’s shaped my reading habits and likes –what made that book(s) memorable. Feel free to join in with your own books remembered!

This week I remember Sati by Christopher Pike. As a teenager a devoured all the Christopher Pike books I could get my hands on. In the early 90s they were one of the few books that gaped that bridge from children books to adults – the now hugely popular Young Adult culture. I also loved the range of story Chris Pike could produce – everything from a teenage murder mystery such as the Final Friends trilogy to the more supernatural bent like Witch or Remember Me to time travel with . And the best thing about them was the main characters were teenagers like me. Not the Sweet Valley high teenagers (goody two-shoes) but these teenagers drank, smoked pot and had underage sex. Not that these were a main focus of the stories at all – they were just normal teens and this is what teenagers did. So I was a big fan Christopher Pike before I even read Sati.

Sati was different.
The main character wasn’t a teenager. He was a long-distance truck driver. One day on his way home he picks up a hitch-hiker in the middle of the desert – a beautiful blond girl. She says her name is Sati. She also says she’s God. Most of the book is about how Sati changes the guy’s life and the life of his closest friends. It doesn’t preach at you. It doesn’t even really settle the question of whether she is God or not. In fact it’s really religious at all. But it makes you question what you want out of life. The real question isn’t whether Sati is God or not, but how do you want to live? Do you want to be stuck in a job you can’t stand? Do you marry your long term girlfriend? What do you need to do to be happy?

As a thirteen year old girl, these seemed like huge question (they still do!). And the story really moved me. I liked the moral of how to live, to try and be happy. It was as deep a philosophy as I could understand at that age and probably one of the first times I thought about a book beyond the excitement of the story. It made me ponder the meaning of life and what I wanted to get out of it.

The book has moved with me over the years – I still have a dog-eared copy on my book shelf. Occasionally I’ll re-read it and it cheers me up. I’ve lent it to many friends over the years and they always tell me how much they love it – I’ve struggled to get in back off some of them! Still Sati is one of those books I’ve always remembered for being the first book to get me to think.

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