When I turned sixteen, my English teacher asked me what I got for my birthday. He was surprised that I hadn’t received a book, because I perpetually had one with me. He told me that I could pick any book from his bookshelf, that all of the books were something special to him: life lessons, epiphanies, childhood loves, heartbreaks, and goals for the future. He said,

“None of these books leave this room. Ever. Pick any book, read it, and tell me what you think.”

I chose Lolita, a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. It made me rage, cry, and question my judgement. How could I love the monster? How could I blame him? How couldn’t I? 

Lolita changed my life. I give people more chances, I hate more passionately. When I told my teacher,

“He makes me sad.” the response I got was a smile and a laugh. He said,

“Good. You understand what books are for, now, don’t you?”

And I do.