My name is Jorie.
There's nothing extraordinary about my story. It's actually pretty average. It didn't take me anywhere truly spectacular, except in my mind. And I don't have much to show either for getting into the books, since most of what they meant to me occurred internally, inside me. Let's face it, Animorphs didn't make me a superhero. Animorphs didn't make me want to change the world. But maybe it did make me want to change myself. But my life did take a turn when I picked up The Invasion. And before I knew it, I was hooked on something amazing for a good few years of my life. No, hooked isn't a strong enough word. I was IMMERSED. And deep down, I will always be an Animorphs fan.
I was about 10 or 11 when I got into the series. Actually, take that back. I have no idea how old I was. I only know I was in fifth grade at the time. When I was in fifth grade I enjoyed everything fantasy. I was really into the Dinotopia books and I think I was casually reading the end of the Chronicles of Narnia. I'm also pretty sure I picked up The Hobbit around this time as well. In my fifth grade Language Arts class, we were learning about Sci-Fi and Fantasy books and were given a project about it. The project was to actually make a claymation scene from the Scifi novel that we were allowed to choose to read. Pretty cool project, I was ecstatic. There were a lot of grumbles from the class, being forced to read a book about aliens or what have you and having to make stuff out of clay for weeks on end. Sadly, I did NOT pick Animorphs for this project. I did a scene from The World Beneath, a Dinotopia book. However, a few kids from the class did either one of the first two Animorphs books. One of these kids being my crush, a guy I secretly liked. Yay, lame and so grade school - I know. But, hey, he was cute and I had hormones then.
I would work on my little claymation dinosaurs and sit next to this boy who constructed five people and a strange blue centaur out of clay. I was intrigued by this blue guy. Thought he was adorable. That was when I decided to pick up one of the books myself to read outside of class. I picked up The Invasion at the bookstore, basically because I like to start at the beginning. Reading the first book I was intrigued. I wouldn't say I was hooked yet, I'd just say that I found the book to be enjoyable. But at the time, I was into a lot of other things, so it was almost like my mind didn't want to accept another obsession. I did like the characters though. I loooved animals so reading a book about kids turning into animals to fight evil slugs was just top of cool. But I wasn't allowing myself to get hooked yet. I kept holding back. Next time I went to the bookstore I bought #2 and #3, just to give them a try. After all, there's a girl turning into a cat on one cover, and a cute boy turning into a hawk on the other. Read them both basically in secret. I didn't want my family or my friends to think I had another obsession brewing. So I thought I'd try these two more out before anything drastic happened. I enjoyed The Visitor, but it wasn't until The Encounter that I became absolutely hooked. Something about the trials of a boy trying to live life as a bird and as a human just spoke to me. I wouldn't say that Tobias was my favorite character, it was just something about him that bonded with me. Something about the tone of his books, and about his situation. It really spoke to me.
After that, I was buying each book as they came out. And when I had no money, I'd cleverly talk my mother into buying them for me. After all, I'm READING, mom! READING! Be proud! Buy me Animorphs! I'd call each month to the local Waldenbooks, asking when the next one would arrive. The guy who worked there began recognizing my voice. I guess that's when you know that you're just totally obsessed with something. I became obsessed. And by obsessed, I mean REALLY obsessed. All of those dinosaur and Jurassic Park posters came straight down on my walls and were covered with my own hand-drawn, hand-created Animorph ones. < Together we fight > was plastered EVERYWHERE. I also started caring for and breeding pet mice at the time, and most of them had Animorph names. I was becoming an insane fanatic of the series. All I could think about was Animorphs. My dreams were all Animorphs related. The people I hated or made me uneasy became Controllers in my eyes. Deer hoof prints in the mud outside my house could actually be prints of a lone Andalite in my mind. Every red-tailed hawk that floated high overhead became Tobias. I was insanely obsessed.
Sadly, I didn't use my new computer and internet connection to look up Animorphs fan sites. Shame on me! I did use it to log on to Scholastic many times a day, though. Joined some Animorphs club that promised cool items to be sent through the mail monthly and books shipped right to your door. Spent a good deal of money on that too. But, I didn't receive ONE shipment. Bloody hell, was I disappointed! I also caught the Animorphs TV show when it first aired. Was disappointed, it gave me a good laugh. But I still watched a few episodes. I didn't catch them all though, probably none of the second season. It was entertaining to say the least. And interesting to see another companies interpretation of my favorite books on a limited budget. But the books still held my heart.
During the rest of fifth grade and part of sixth I would read the books during silent reading. I was pretty open about liking the series, though I seemed to be the only one in my classes who liked the books that much. I ended up converting my two good friends into reading the books, so that was comforting. But as time past, almost moving on to the seventh grade, liking a fifth grade book was just so - uncool. I got ridiculed a lot my by classmates and my family. I began continuing to read the series in private, no longer carrying my books in my backpack and no longer bringing it up in normal conversation. But my mind didn't sway from the series still. All of my thoughts still focused on the Animorphs world that I could relate to in some way that's hard to explain. I guess I became more introverted. I sort of began to keep to myself a lot. The once outspoken me with a few friends became the girl that had maybe two friends and sat at the back of class with her head in the clouds. Recess became my thinking time instead of my running to chase boys time. I still socialized somewhat, but it all seemed forced. I couldn't relate to anyone anymore. Because everything about me had become infatuated with this book series about kids with special powers while everyone else was talking gossip about so-and-so and how this new awesome romance flick about a boat came out. I could still relate to my friends who were into the books like I was, but I seemed to be just way over-the-top with it. I recall one time I suggested playing Animorphs with my two friends in one of the girl's backyard. We had a decent time, I played more than one character, and much running around and pretending to morph took place. But still, I think I was the only one who truly loved role-playing like that. Acting out the fantasy that my mind had created about these books. We never played Animorphs after that, basically because my friends just weren't into that sort of thing anymore, I guess. They liked the books, but they didn't like Animorphs as much as I did I suppose.
Seventh grade began, I still bought the books, but I began to fall out of the series. The ghostwritten books just seemed so under par compared to the Animorphs I fell in love with. By end of seventh grade going into eighth I began to focus my mind on other things, new obsessions began to arise, and my Animorphs obsession began to regress, overthrown by these other obsessions. I guess my life has always been one obsession after the other, so I guess this shouldn't have been anything new. But I did sort of feel like a piece of myself was missing. After getting out of Animorphs almost completely, I did hit a sort of small depression. Even with my mind focusing on new obsessions like art and The Lion King, I still felt a great emptiness that I couldn't quite pinpoint. And because of that, things in my life began to effect me much greater than it used to. My mind was no longer my sanctuary to stay in all day and play out my Animorph fantasies. I now had to use this mind to socialize with people, try to figure out this person I am sans the obsessions, and also try to grow up. And I guess I just didn't know how to handle it. I guess I didn't -want- to know how to handle it.
End depressing paragraph to talk about something cheerful. CHARACTERS! So who to this day is my favorite character? I wish I knew XD It seems to change every time I read through the books. I know one time I claimed Jake to be my favorite character, and another time it was Tobias, and another time it was Cassie, and Aximili. It just kept changing! I think I've come to the conclusion now that I like all the characters the same. Because they all speak to me in their own way. I like it how Jake was always torn with decision making, and the fact that he cared more about being a good friend than being the fearless leader. I liked the fact that Rachel always had this gung-ho attitude externally, but reading her books you discover her softer more timid side. The side of her that was more concerned about coming across as strong to everyone else than to show a small hint of weakness. I think she always felt like she had to be the backbone of the group. And Marco. What can I say, I absolutely adore his humor. Anytime Marco is interacting with Rachel or with Ax, I'm bound to laugh out loud. But Marco also has that side to him that you KNOW he cares, he just doesn't always know the best way to show it. Cassie, I have to say that she reminded me a lot of myself at times. Most people found her to be annoying, but I found her touching, intuitive, and fascinating. #19 will always reduce me to tears no matter how many times I read it. Tobias was probably my favorite character for a while. I'm just astounded by the jump of tone from books #1 and #2 to #3. It just shows how remarkably DIFFERENT Tobias is when it comes to thinking about things. But I guess I've come to realize that even though Tobias's books make me tear up from time to time, and even though I find myself relating to his words on the page, I don't think I'd call him my favorite character. Maybe Tobias is the character I can mostly relate to, but not my favorite. And Aximili, oh what can I say about this crazy alien aristh? His antics, especially when he's in human morph, are always laugh-inducing. How can you not love a guy who doesn't wear a shirt and says "But the men on the Young and the Restless don't wear shirts. I am young, and occasionally, I am restless." and Marco remarks, "Ax, put on a shirt."? Classic. And his loyalty is always something I'd look up to. And I'll always have a spot in my heart for Ket Halpek and Jara Hamee, as well as good old Prince Elfangor. So, in conclusion, I like all of the characters.
Occasionally, I'll still pick up the books, read them all the way through. Or just read one of the Chronicles. And the obsession would start up again for a limited time, and then ebb when my mind focused on something else I was interested in.
I've had to save my books many times from my mom selling them to Goodwill or at garage sales. I have lost quite a few books though, mostly from me lending them out to friends (and I have a habit of not remembering who I lend things out to, nor even remember lending things out to begin with) and never getting them back. I hope some day to gain those books back, I need to make it a habit to run out to those second-hand bookstores from time to time. But the fact is, I can't let these books go. I will never be able to let them go. I can imagine that if I ever move out of my house, either to college or whatever, those books would probably be the first thing that I'd pack. Because out of all of the things that I own, my LOTR stuff, my posters, my sword, my movies - none of them have nearly as much nostalgic feeling or meaning like Animorphs did and still has for me.
I think I've finally come to the conclusion that the obsession will always live in me, and if I ever want to revisit that obsession, all I'd need to do is think about it or pick up one of the books. And in some ways, that's comforting. It's comforting to know that even if you start to lose the things that you used to be obsessed with, it doesn't mean that they died. It doesn't mean they left your soul completely. All you need to do is call and it will come right back up again. That that nostalgia doesn't always have to bring back tears of sadness. Instead, bring back that feeling of - yes, this is something that I can relate to somehow. This is something that I can call on to help me feel solaced. And to me, at least, that's comforting.
Now I'm 19, and I'm not afraid to say I'm an Animorphs fan. I think it's much better today than it was when I was younger. Nowadays, you get caught reading Animorphs on the bus and odds are someone will come up to you and say, "ANIMORPHS! Oh man! I loved those books!" and not "Animorphs is for LOSERS." I am surprised to find that many of the friends I have today were absolutely in love with the books when they were younger as well. I guess I'm surprised because I never knew any rabid Animorphs fans growing up, and I kept my obsession a secret for most of the time I was into them. I guess I just had no idea that something that was so close and comforting to me could mean the same thing to someone else. And in some ways, I'm incredibly relieved. Because, yes, now I know I'm not alone.
"Be happy for me, and for all who fly free." - Tobias
Hah, sorry for how INCREDIBLY LENGTHY this is. I just started to ramble. And I feel really sorry for everyone who read this far. Just wow. Go take a nap now, I'm sure your eyes hurt. So yes, that's my story. Nothing special. Nothing glitzy and sugar-coated. Just the bare-butt truth. And if I got off-topic, I apologize. Basically, Animorphs effected me A LOT, and I tried to include all the ways it effected me.