Wednesday 17 December 2008

What I've missed out on

It hurts me more than a little to think of all the amazing kiddie lit books that I didn't read when I was a kiddie. It's not that I don't enjoy the kiddie lit now, because I really really do.

But I want to experience all kiddie lit books now the way I experienced Bambi then - full of the greatest anxiety and heartbreak and deep loneliness imaginable - and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - full of desperate hope and hunger and being able to taste that one chocolate bar Charlie got every year; I can still taste that chocolate bar as I imagined it when I was 6 and dammit, no chocolate in the world could taste as good I dreamed Charlie's once-a-year bar did.

For this intensity of emotional and physical experience, I wish I'd read Philippa Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden when I was little. I still feel all weepy and nostalgic for it but if I'd read it when I was a wee sprog, I think it might have changed me forever the way those books mentioned above did. Tom's forays into the wrinkles of time were as compelling to me now as re-reading L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet as an adult was, but without the discomfort of noticing the author's racial and religious weirdnesses.

Pearce just knew how to write a good magical yarn for kids - and for me, as I recover from PhDing and as I delve into the extremely tiring life of owning a bookstore, this is perfect. Because book-selling could kill a girl's love of reading if she weren't careful, and that just wouldn't do at all.


Anonymous said...

I had the joy of reading Tom's Midnight Garden as a child, and the magic stayed with me forever. Though my memories of the details are a little vague, I still got a shudder of delight when I saw the cover on your blog. I'm almost afraid to read it again, for fear I get caught in one of those time wrinkles myself and never want morning to come.

Unknown said...

Wow, Late Medieval English Lyrics and Carols. AND Henry James? Lighten up, Colleen. Please don't review those sequentially unless you have can link your bloggers to suicide watch. Try something lighter. I suggest "108th Street" by T. David Lee. Funny, charming story about grwoing up in the 1950s. And no angst in sight.

Anonymous said...

I am in complete agreement on wishing I'd read many of the books out there when I was younger. however, my tastes were more towards the books I wasn't supposed to read yet, like Stephen King or Tony Hillerman. Now I find myself scrambling to read some of those tales I missed out on when I was younger. Thanks for sharing.