This I Believe

lexi - newark, Delaware
Entered on June 6, 2007

Have you ever had the experience of reading a book and suddenly you are a part of it, riding horse across an open field, charging down a hill with your friends by your side, fighting Medusa with your eyes closed? I believe that everyone should have a character in a book to relate to. It’s nice to be able to put yourself in a character’s shoes. It allows you to be able to relate to the character and imagine yourself doing exactly what they are doing. This is particularly true in a fantasy story because it is unexplored and imaginary. You can see the surroundings any way you want; you are not bound by what you already know about something.

The book with the character I most relate to is The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan, a fantasy / contemporary mix. I can imagine myself in settings like New York and Los Angeles with dragons guarding special monuments that only special humans can see. Percy Jackson, the main character in the book, is one of those humans. I can really relate to Percy because he’s very similar to me. He is a teenager who has something unique about him; he’s the son of the sea god Poseidon. Poseidon fell in love with Percy’s mother and now Percy has to cope with being a half blood, a demi-god. In addition to that, he has ADHD and dyslexia. This makes school difficult enough, but, on top of that, he is bullied in school. In fact this is how he discovers his powers. He discovers that ADHD can actually have a benefits. It helps him in battles because he can divide his focus and be aware of several things at once. After he leaves school and goes to Camp Half Blood, a camp for demi-gods, he fina lly makes friends with people who understand him.

I relate to this character because I have ADHD and dyslexia. ADHD is a disorder that makes it so you’re easily distracted and unable to concentrate on one thing or unable to stop concentrating on one thing. I can understand how Percy has trouble in school because attention deficit makes it hard to get work done in school. For example, when I’m trying to pay attention to my teacher, I may be distracted by someone tapping their pencil, and I can no longer concentrate on the teacher. Background noise is particularly hard for me; it’s like a hundred TV’s in my head playing at the same time. Like Percy, reading is also really hard for me, that’s because I am also dyslexic. Dyslexia is a group of learning disabilities that interfere with reading, math, writing, spelling and other learning activities. Reading out loud is really hard for me because I think words are different than they actually are. Spelling is also really hard because of my dyslexia. For instance, when you see a word it may be missing some of the letters or appear to have letters that aren’t really there.

Going to NCCL, a small private school was like finding my own Camp Half- Blood with friends who understand me. I can’t even remember if I had friends at my old school. Like Percy, I have learned to always take advice from my friends. I learned something that Percy hasn’t learned yet, to plan before you charge. I also lose attention from one thing, to another. However, I have an ability to recognize things, especially unusual things, that other people may not see. For instance, one day at my tutor’s I was looking at a map of the world with black lines drawn on it and I instantly recognized it was the silk route. I am a very visual learner. Having a character in a book to relate to is like re-living your life with a twist. It helps me to get into a book if the character is similar to me. It makes me happy to realize that there is someone else like me, it reminds me that I’m not the only person in the world who has ADHD and dyslexia.