2018 is the year I make books more of a priority in my life. Right before Christmas, actually, I started reading a book as part of my night time routine to get myself ready for sleep. I’ve been reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I will write my own review on it next week. Anyway, it got me thinking about my history with reading. While Music has always been my first love, I can say that reading was always my second.
Music and books did something wonderful for me. They allowed a lonely and unwanted little girl to escape the realities of her life and enter into new worlds. So I’m going to go through and talk about each book that held significance in my young life and why two of them are still so prevalent for me today.
Where the Wild Things Are:
I was 7 years old when I saw this book at the library at my school. Smokey the Bear was visiting our school that day with several firemen and it was held in the library. It was 1983 and I was living – to put it nicely- in my father’s house. A lot of bad happened there. This book helped me deal.
I remember how much I wanted to be like Max and escape to another world where the monsters felt more human to me than the humans I was under the “care” of. Those monsters seemed like a lot of fun and they loved Max. I thought, “Could they love me too?”
Of course, I wouldn’t go without bringing my little brother along. We would ride in our own little boat across the ocean to where the wild things are. This book encouraged my imagination to soar but it also allowed me to see a different world where children were valued and loved.
Years later when I had my own kids, this was one of the first books I bought. Of course they never had the appreciation for it that I do but it still sits on my bookshelf with pride. Now I look fondly back on a book that helped to keep me from drowning in darkness.
Nothing’s Fair in the Fifth Grade:
I don’t know if any of you remember this book. My aunt found it at a flea market when I was 10 and it was perfect for me at the time because 5th grade was when I started puberty. I got teased quite a bit and felt very much like an outsider. I no longer have this book. I lost it a long time ago but it helped me feel better about my situation by reading about Elsie’s.
This was my first romance novel. By the time I was 14 romance was my thing. I was a dreamer and wanted nothing more than to find a boy like Michael. I actually read this book twice, haha! Those days are long gone though but this book represents for me the girl I used to be. The romantic who wanted so much to be loved.
And finally, the book that gave a young woman hope that lasted for years. This book didn’t just touch the romantic in me. This book touched my tougher side. My stubborn and ambitious side that needed a push.
Anne Of Green Gables:
No other book has captured my imagination and my love as much as Anne of Green Gables. At 16 years old, I became obsessed with L.M. Montgomery books because of this stubborn and willful redhead who I identified with on every level. Anne was my hero! She represented everything I felt and everything I wanted to be in life.
While there were some differences between Anne and I she had become my fictional best friend. Anne suffered through a lot. She was lonely and felt unloved. Anne was teased at school and made an outcast by several narrow minded parents in town. A child who was immediately looked down upon because of her background. She was a girl who used her vivid imagination to escape. Exactly like I used to be.
However, Anne triumphed and gained the love and respect from everyone in her life. This fictional character filled me with hope for my future. It was almost like she was Alice and she gave me the looking glass. That looking glass allowed me to see beyond my hopeless present and look to a future full of possibilities. I even wanted to have five children because of her and I was going to name my first daughter Anne.
I owned every single L.M. Montgomery book for many years. Then during a flood in an old apartment, I had to throw them away but I will get them back. One by one I will add these precious books to my library again.
What about you? What were your favorite childhood books? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks so much for reading!
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