It’s been steadily raining all day, and according to the local weatherwoman tomorrow is the only day we will be getting relief from the feels-colder-than-it-is wetness. Rainy days make me want to be at home cooking a warm, delicious meal and settling in with a thick book to read. And depending on the meal, and sometimes the book, I’ll have a glass of wine, a mug of tea, or maybe just water if I’ve had too much of the first two.
Since I’ve been home from work, I’ve managed to pull out a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner since I’m craving comfort food that doesn’t require too much strenuous work to make. It’s almost done, so it’s time to bring out the wine: Riesling; not because it pairs well with mac ‘n cheese (it doesn’t, really) but because it’s the only bottle in my fridge.
The book? Well I’m really engrossed in Judy Blume’s In The Unlikely Event right now, although I’m pretty sure it’s contributing to some freaky dreams I’ve been having. Anyway, today as I thought about the dreary outside while sitting inside my windowless office, my mind wandered to the bookcase in my childhood room that still holds many of my books.
The majority of the titles are ones I acquired in college, and sit opposite of Narnia, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Harry Potter. Ramona Quimby holds a good chunk of real estate; I’ll never forget learning about how to actually pack if you wanted to run away from home, and from Beatrice: how to treat my younger sister. In addition to Beverly Cleary, Sharon Creech is one of my favorite writers of children’s novels, and as a child, my favorite book to read was Walk Two Moons.
This is the book I specifically thought of today as I tried to distract myself from rainy day daydreaming. I can’t remember the last time I read it, although there was a time when it was the only thing I read. In 6th grade, it was assigned to my class and I told my teacher I was excited to read it because I had read it so many times on my own. My teacher decided I wouldn’t get any more out of it, and assigned me to read The Egypt Game while everyone else read Walk Two Moons. I think I read enough of the first to do assignments, but read Sharon Creech’s book again anyway.*
That may have been the last time I read Walk Two Moons, and if I do read it again, I wonder if it will intrigue me as much as it did when I was younger. It’s almost a little frightening to pick up a childhood favorite to re-read; you don’t want to lose the magic you felt when you picked it up for the very first time, the second time, or the fiftieth time. Although it won’t take me a few reads to fully understand or comprehend the tragic events inside the pages, and I don’t foresee myself becoming obsessed with the word “cadaver” as much as I did when I encountered that word for the first time, I still want to be captivated by Phoebe Winterbottom, a road trip with grandparents, and the realization that what parents think is best for a child sometimes takes the form of a lie.
Maybe my angst at losing something from reading this novel as an adult will prevent me from ever picking it up again, or maybe I’ll push that angst aside to find out what new things I can discover by reading it with more experienced eyes. What is your experience with your favorite childhood novel(s) or story – and what have you discovered?
*Note: I didn’t appreciate this reassignment then as much as I do now. Individualized learning, circa 2004