This is one of the darkest books I have read in a long time, and that is saying something. Some people compare Nothing to Lord of the Flies, and I would have to say that is a pretty good comparison. The main difference being, of course, that these kids don’t even have to leave civilization for civilization to leave them.
The story begins when a 13-year-old boy, Pierre Anthon, walks out of school and proclaims that life is meaningless. He says that life is a waste of time, since everyone will be dead in the end. He then proceeds to then climbs up into a plum tree and refuses to come down. His classmates try to talk sense into him, but he counters every argument they make. The other kids decide that they have to find a way to show Pierre Anthon that life has meaning, so they decide to collect personal items and add them to a “pile of meaning.” In order for something to have meaning, they reason, it must be difficult for a person to give up his/her item to the pile. What starts with demands for a beloved pair of new shoes and a bicycle, though, soon devolves into something much darker. Though intriguing as it was disturbing, this book is not for the faint of heart.