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Dear Mr. Uris,
No one ever told me heroes doubted themselves. I always assumed heroes never hesitated, never lost their unwavering confidence. I thought the essence of a hero was confidence, the magical ability to always remain absolutely sure in one's self no matter the situation. Doubt was something common people were plagued with, but something heroes were free from. My beliefs led me to assume I was destined to be a common person, one riddled with uncertainty and vacillation. I didnít dare dream that I, a shy, unpopular boy, could ever ascend to the plane where heroes lived, a plane far above mine. Conor Larkin changed my definition of a hero, as well as my life. You, through Conor Larkin, taught me heroes were beleaguered by doubt just like I was. You taught me that heroes were not made through complacency and insouciance, but achieved heroic status through an incessant drive to succeed. I learned heroes are scared by failure just as everyone else is, but are separated because of their ability to continue despite failure. I believe I was destined to lead the life of the common man, until I read Trinity.
I imagine every writer's dream is to change lives, to inspire a person to challenge the status quo, to convince others to strive for the unattainable. Trinity showed me my life wasn't etched in stone before I was born, but that I could strive to enhance the life I was given at birth. Trinity showed me a young, burgeoning boy could achieve success that once seemed a distant dream. Trinity showed me that I, like Conor Larkin, could change my stars.
I get a strange look when I tell other kids my favorite book is Trinity, not Harry Potter. I get more bizarre looks when I inform kids the book is 800 pages long. Reading an 800-page book that isnít written by J.K. Rowling is not considered normal in teenage circles. In fact, it is considered weird, to use a word that I have been described as for reading such a book. But I think the reaction I receive captures the essence of Trinity itself: the yearning to be different, separate from the pack. I have found in my years since reading Trinity that distinctiveness is a common characteristic of heroes, not unfaltering confidence.
After I read Trinity the first time I loved it, but in a simple way. It was just another book, albeit a spectacular one. It wasnít until one day at school when I got a bad grade on an English test that it dawned on me Ė I could do better than a C if I applied myself. I thought that if Conor Larkin were ever in my situation, he would throw himself into the class with reckless abandon until he succeeded. After I got home from school that day, I read Trinity for hours. It now had another effect on me; it was no longer just a good book, but a commentary on life, at its best and worst. Trinity motivated me to do well in English class; it took me four months to get an A in the class. I felt like I had conquered the world, but in fact all I had done was respond to a challenge, just like the hero I so craved to emulate would have.
I was extremely lucky to read Trinity when I was first challenging my social conscience. Trinity showed me that, as Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." Conor Larkin knew both victory and defeat, a I know I will, but I believe one must make the most of your time on Earth, and to do this a person must make leaps of faith that may seem irrational. Finally Trinity has taught me that a life in a gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat is in fact not a life at all.
© The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. (Used by permission.)