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.