A College Grad’s Thoughts Upon Re-Reading Her Childhood Favorite Book Series

A College Grad’s Thoughts Upon Re-Reading Her Childhood Favorite Book Series

It’s been at least a decade since I last picked up an Animorphs book.

I read a lot of books as a kid, but K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs stands out from the crowd in my memory. This series was my introduction to science fiction, the source of most of my animal fun fact knowledge base, and a bonding tool between me and my sister. They’re also the reason why a lot of the stories I dictated to my parents as a kid had infuriatingly constantly-changing narrators. Hey, you write what you know, even when you don’t yet know how to do it well.

I have to admit that the premise of the series is pretty weird. Five human kids meet a dying alien prince who gives them the power to turn into any animal they can touch so that they can fight a guerilla war against another group of aliens – the Yeerks – who have waged a secret, parasitic war on humanity. Also, there are other alien species in the crossfire who have already been taken over by the Yeerks, a bunch of pacifistic dog robots who have been on Earth since the pyramids were built, a group of tiny aliens with massive egos and an annoying shrink ray, and a pair of godlike beings who view the whole thing as a kind of cosmic chess game.

It’s complicated. But I love complicated stories, and I ate it up as a kid. And over the past few weeks, I enjoyed it again as a college graduate.

One of the interesting things about re-reading a series a decade later is seeing how my memories held up. I didn’t remember some of the books at all, like the one with the morph-capable buffalo (long story). Regarding the books I did remember, I often found that I hadn’t remembered them in the correct order; I kept being surprised in the first ten books when things that I thought didn’t happen until very late in the series happened then instead. Maybe it’s because I didn’t read them completely in order to begin with. I know I started with the fourth book, reading along with my sister and asking her why Cassie’s dad didn’t know that she could morph into a squirrel.

The answer to that question is that the Animorphs must keep their fight a secret from everyone, to avoid having their identities discovered by the Yeerks. And the stress of keeping this secret really gets to them. It surprised me to find in my re-read that this was not so much a fun adventure series as it was a story about war.

My sister and I used to spend hours and hours making up Animorphs-like stories that starred ourselves, having fun pretending that we could turn into animals and save the world. But that isn’t all that happens in Animorphs. The Animorphs nearly die at least once per book, and they kill a lot of people along the way. The morphing process is constantly referred to as disgusting and horrifying. In my re-read, I couldn’t help but notice that the kids increasingly exhibit symptoms of PTSD. Even though I’d read all of these books before, these darker aspects took me by surprise. Given the prevalence of these darker aspects in the series, it’s unlikely that as a child I completely went without noticing them, but given my current surprise they must have not left a lasting impact on me. And it wasn’t a pleasant surprise by any means; by the end of the series I felt emotionally drained.

So why did I enjoy the Animorphs series so much as a child that I felt like reading them again over a decade later?

Well, my favorite Animorphs book from way back when was once again my favorite on this re-read: book number 29, The Sickness. It’s the one where Cassie morphs a Yeerk in order to rescue a Yeerk who is a member of the Yeerk-human peace movement. The peace movement, and Cassie’s efforts towards empathy and a way out of the conflict that doesn’t involve fighting, don’t receive as much focus in the series as the battles do. But it’s what I liked the most, and remembered best – the times when a black-and-white conflict showed shades of gray, and Applegate’s writing got me to think that no group can be completely written off as bad, that all people have the potential for good, and if we take the time to hear other people’s perspective, peace can win out.

In the years since the first time I read the Animorphs books, I’ve written a lot of stories that focus on that more complicated narrative of empathy, peacemaking, and moral gray areas. I think this book series is at least part of the reason why. Somehow, that smaller part of the series is what stood out to me as a child and stuck with me for all these years. It’s why I will continue to treasure my memories of this series, even if I don’t particularly feel like reading them all in a row again any time soon.

Cover Image Credit: Animorphs Wiki

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18 Times Kate Middleton Was Actually All Of Us In College, Beside The Princess Thing

Every girl has to go through her clueless college stage before she reaches Duchess status.

Kate Middleton is basically a household name by now, and how could this not be the case when she has the gorgeous hair, kind smile, and incredible fashion sense. With her constantly in the spotlight looking so put together, we sometimes forget that the Duchess was actually all of us in college!

Here are 18 times that Kate proved she was just like all of us.

1. Going all out in the name of school spirit

There is nothing like breaking out the war paint and screaming for your home team. Like Kate, we all love to get a little messy and make some memories with our friends.

2. Hanging out with the roomies

Some people may not get lucky in this area but for those who are best friends with their roommates, they understand the love. It's a dream come true for everyone who has always wanted to live with their best friends. It's like a sleepover that never ends.

3. Dressing up cute on the first day of school...

You got to make a good first impression on your way to school. Whether it's during your 7 A.M or 4 P.M., it's always best to dress to impress.

4. ...and wearing yoga pants for the rest of the year

And this goes all the way until the last week of school when you don't bother getting out of bed to wear pants at all.

5. Going grocery shopping and throwing in cookies, ice-cream, and every type of Pringles because your mom isn't there to say no

You'll probably regret that in a few months when the Freshman Fifteen kicks in.

6. Walking for miles from your car to your dorm carrying groceries

We can't park by the apartment for a solid five minutes to carry our groceries up to the kitchen or we will risk a ticket, but we can walk a few miles carrying food that gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier with every step.

7. Going out for a night on the town on a Friday night

Dancing, laughter, and fun? Everyone in college has been to a party or two. It's a classic part of the college experience. Sometimes you just need a distraction from all the essays and tests.

8. Being so late to class you threw on whatever your hands grabbed next

We've all been there. Our alarm doesn't go off, we press snooze a few too many times, or forget to even set an alarm and next thing you know we are running around the dorm room like Taz from Looney Toons. You throw on whatever, then run to class.

Unfortunately 9/10 times our outfits don't turn out. Although, Kate can certainly pull off this look, no matter how mismatched.

9. Pretending your walking to the same building as the cute boy you met so you have the excuse to keep talking to him

I am very guilty of doing this. Although I missed my class, at least I got to talk to the really cute boy who has class at 9:45 in the STEM building. It was worth it.

10. Sitting on the floor or standing because you're a poor college student who can't afford chairs or tables

Eating on the floor? Always. Being a college kid is tough and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to obtain the others. Such as choosing chocolate milk and Halo Top over vegetables and hair conditioner.

Judging by Kate's beautiful locks, she chose the conditioner.

Probably the vegetables too.

We should just all follow her example.

11. Going on cute date with the boy you followed to class-turned-boyfriend

Now my short-lived romance may not have extended farther than us talking and walking to his class, but Kate and William obviously had a better ending. Nevertheless, college is the place to grow and date and possibly find the one.

12. Keeping your hair long and growing because you can't afford to get it cut

Don't trust your roommate. No matter how many times she begs you to let her cut it. Don't.

13. Turning 21 and getting dressed up and going out with your best friends

While this one probably doesn't apply to Kate, since you can drink at age 18 in most countries, all my people in the United States know the sweet freedom of turning 21. It's an iconic time in a students life and marks a huge milestone as well.

14. Passing out flyers for some type of movement or protest

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger - which is why college is the time to stand up for what you believe in. May that be RedforEd, Planned Parenthood, anti-Abortion, Trump, the Wall, pizza bagels, it's all an exercise of the first amendment.

15. Ranting to your friends about the professor that just "doesn't understand you"

You know your thinking about that professor right now as you read this. And you know that that's your reaction whenever they give you a bad grade or say something you disagree with at the tiniest degree.

16. Getting glammed-up for those senior photos

Pick out your best outfit and make sure it's a good hair day because everyone will be viewing these photos forever... and in Kate's place that is more than true. Luckily she looks as gorgeous as ever. Does she ever have a bad hair day?

17. Walking out of your last class knowing you'll never have to write a single paper again

And purposefully not thinking about how you will be going into the real world in less than a few days.

18. When you've graduated and realized you have no idea what you're going to do with your life

Maybe a prince will be right around the corner to sweep you off your feet so you won't have to figure your life out.
Cover Image Credit: Laura Warshauer

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.


Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.

Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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