Should you re-read childhood favorites? | Fun Questions

August 16, 2014 Fun Questions 26

Fun Questions LogoJoin me every Saturday as I ask a Fun Question that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…

Should you re-read childhood favorites?

I’ve been a reader my whole life. I tore through books as a kid much like I do now as an adult. So naturally I had some books that I just loved as a kid. But they’ve all become a bit foggy to me. What happened in those books? Why did I love them so much? A part of me wants to reread them so badly, so I can remember what it was that pulled me to them. Another part, though, is terrified of reading them. What if re-reading childhood favorites ruins them for me? My standards have changed. I like to think I have more sophisticated tastes. So would that destroy the books? Or were they so good that I would appreciate them as an adult? I do enjoy young adult literature after all.

There’s one childhood favorite in particular that I’ve been thinking about. It was the first book I remember staying up all night to read. I got it at school – I was part of this advanced readers group. They pulled us out of class during reading so we could be with higher-level readers and they gave us access to books they other kids couldn’t read yet. This one grabbed my attention just from the description.

I got into serious trouble because of this book, in fact. I grew up in this really strict, religious household and this book was, as I remember it, high fantasy. Like reading Diana Pharaoh Francis’s Crosspointe Chronicles, only the child version. An imaginary historical past filled with magic and magical creatures. Tyranny and poverty. Sword fighting and armies. Personal sacrifice. This book had it all – except romance I think.

I was so excited about it that the next morning I told my parents about how I just couldn’t put the book down. How it was so good. How I had kept thinking, “just one more chapter.” My dad asked to see the book, saw what it was about and told me that I hadn’t been able to put the book down because of the devil. His magic had bewitched me. As a child of about 11 years old at the time, I believed him and didn’t touch the book again, terrified. As a more sensible adult who knows it was because that book was damn good I went searching high and low, trying to remember what the book was called. I could only sort of remember the author and little snippets of the story. But finally I found it.

Bright Shadow by AVIBright Shadow by AVI
Published by Aladdin Books on October 1, 1988
Genres:Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 167

Five wishes can save a suffering kingdom–but at a high price to 12-year-old Morwenna, who is responsible for granting them. A sensitively written tale which poses philosophical questions about selfishness, selflessness, and the terrible burden of what first appears to be wonderful gifts.

Bright Shadow tempts me because of what it could have been. It could have been my introduction to my favorite genre. I could have spent my entire teenage years gobbling up fantasy. I might have read Harry Potter as a teenager when the books were coming out, rather than as an adult just in time to read the last one with everyone else. Who knows, maybe I wouldn’t be so behind on all the series if I hadn’t only started reading Fantasy in the past 5 or 6 years, but had actually started with this book, 19 or 20 years ago.

But the reality is, Fantasy is MY genre now. So will a re-read of my childhood favorite backfire? Should I just let it sit as is, a fond memory with fuzzy details? There’s more books I’m curious about re-reading, but this one, more than any of them tempts me because I think, had I not told my dad about it, I would have re-read the book over and over. I would probably know everything that happened in it.

I did learn one good thing from this it experience it seems. A few years later when I read Victoria Holt for the first time – a historical romance author not quite appropriate for a 13 year old girl (at least by my father’s standards) – and couldn’t put it down, I didn’t tell my dad anything 🙂

Have you re-read childhood favorites? Thought about it? Is is a good idea or do you think it would backfire?


Follow on Bloglovin

Berls

Photo of Berls
About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

26 Responses to “Should you re-read childhood favorites? | Fun Questions”

  1. Renae @ Respiring Thoughts

    I re-read childhood favorites all the time! Well, maybe not all the time, but I’m a fairly frequent re-reader, and most of the books I re-read are the ones that I’ve carried with me from childhood to adulthood. There are a few that have not been as good now that I’m older, which was disappointing, but for the most part I’ve really enjoyed them all—though I think maybe nostalgia has a lot to do with that. How much of my enjoyment is because I like the book and how much is memories of me liking the book? Tough question.
    Renae recently posted…Book Review: The Lucy Variations by Sara ZarrMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      That’s really good to know! I’m okay with nostalgia making the book seem better than it really is, I just hope I would still enjoy it. I know of several books that I read when I was a bit older that I still love, so I’m hopeful that this one would work out too 🙂
      Berls recently posted…COYER-SV Update |We Have A Mailing List!My Profile

  2. Lark
    Twitter:

    Berls, I’m sorry your dad scared you off fantasy for so long. It’s an attitude I’ve never really understood, because so much fantasy deals with the same fundamental question of good and evil that many religions grapple with. Yet some deeply conservative Christians seem to find fantasy extremely disturbing or threatening. It’s strange and rather sad (says this decidedly unconservative Christian.)

    As far as re-reading childhood favorites, my answer is a resounding YES! Sure, sometimes you discover that the book wasn’t as good as you remembered it. Sometimes, you simply get a few hours of happy nostalgia. And sometimes, you come to appreciate the book even more, or find things in it that you totally missed at a younger age. I have an entire bookcase full of many of my childhood favorites, and while a few are dated or cheesy (but fun — like Eleanor Cameron’s Mushroom Planet books), others are just as good now as they were when I was young (Madeleine L’Engle, for instance.) I say, go for it!
    Lark recently posted…News & Notes – 8/16/14My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I know, it’s a bummer. I could go on and on about the things I missed out on because of my very conservative upbringing, but I’m just relieved that I’ve been able to discover the world with my own eyes as an adult. Like fantasy 🙂

      I’m so glad to hear that you’ve had such good experiences with rereading! I hadn’t thought about the possibility that I might appreciate things I couldn’t as a kid, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case. AVI is a pretty respected middle grade and young adult author, so I bet he has some hidden gems 🙂 I think I’m going to go for it!
      Berls recently posted…COYER-SV Update |We Have A Mailing List!My Profile

  3. Ginny @ Gin's Book Notes

    You should reread that book. If for no other reason than to know that you were right. I LOVED A Wrinkle in Time and I plan to reread it soon. I already know that it won’t be quite as magical because heck I already know what happens but I think that just being able to reconnect with the memories and feelings I had from the first reading will be worth the reread. Heck I may even learn some new things and uncover even more reasons to love the book. So my advice, in case you missed it, is READ the Book!!! 🙂

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      That’s what I thinking too Gin. I was uncertain but all the comments have really been making me see the pluses outweigh the potential negatives. The cool thing is I don’t even remember what happened, so in a lot of ways it will be like reading it for the first time 🙂 I’m excited to see what it was that captivated my 11 year old mind.
      Berls recently posted…COYER-SV Update |We Have A Mailing List!My Profile

  4. Michelle
    Twitter:

    When you read a book that you can’t put down and can’t do anything else for the rest of the day is THE DEVIL!!! 😉

    I have had a few books like that when I was younger and I was told to go outside and play. Now all we want is our kids to read Lol

    I had a book I re-read all the time it was a really sad book and I can’t remember the name of it but I loved it for some reason. If I remember the name I will text you 🙂 Great Post
    Michelle recently posted…We now have 6 – WIR & TSP 8/17My Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      LOL well I guess it sure can feel that way, huh 😉 You’re so right – we seem to beg kids to read nowadays. Though I beg them to go outside and play too. All my stepson wants to do it seems is play video games. Though he does like graphic novels/comic books, so that’s something.

      You should search for the book – that’s what I did – I didn’t even know the author was AVI at first. It was so cool to finally find it.
      Berls recently posted…COYER-SV Update |We Have A Mailing List!My Profile

  5. Mary

    I’ll agree with your dad in one sense — good books ARE bewitching. Just not in a bad way. And I’m with you ’cause fantasy rocks. Seriously.

    I clicked on this post because I recently reread a romance by an author I adored in high school (that was my romance-obsession period) and, OMG. So bad. So cheesy. I still read the whole thing, a glow of nostalgia glimmering around me the whole time. Great discussion post!
    Mary recently posted…Hot Cover Alert, Mini-Review and Giveaway: Nalini Singh’s Rock AddictionMy Profile

  6. A Voracious Reader

    My mom gave me my first Harlequin when I was 9 (almost 10) and it was the Blizzard of ’78. In her defense I was going a bit stir crazy and they were from like, the 50s, maybe some 60s. So tame (They’re kissing! Ewwww!) compared to these days. LOL Other than those I read a lot of the books of my time like Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, etc, etc. I don’t see myself going back to those. I think I was 12 or 13 when I read Clan of the Cave Bear and I was transported. The book was huge and it was fascinating. Now *that* I have reread several times, sequels, too. And my brother gave me the first Dragonriders of Pern book and there was no stopping me after that with that series. In fact, I’d love to revisit that entire series. 🙂 Those are the ones that really stick out in my memory.
    A Voracious Reader recently posted…The Sunday Post ~ 54th EditionMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      Carol this explains so much… MPM & WW 😉 We owe your mom for getting you started at such a young age LOL! You’ve mentioned Dragonriders of Pern a few times and I have yet to check it out (you know, same old Too Many Books Not Enough Time). I’m stuck wondering what kind of revisit it would be for my book – disappointing or awesome. IDK!
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 54th EditionMy Profile

      • A Voracious Reader

        Hahaha…seriously those books were entirely too tame to create the monster that sits before you today. LOL I blame Harlequin’s Blaze line for that. I think that line came out in 1991. That was the beginning of smut for me. And I blame Emma Holly for my paranormal smut fascination when I read Catching Midnight (in 2005 or so) which led me to the others in that series (at that time) and then on to her book Ménage. O.O Oh, sweet, sweet erotica. There was no looking back after that. lmao
        A Voracious Reader recently posted…The Sunday Post ~ 54th EditionMy Profile

        • Berls
          Twitter:

          LOL! Yeah, I guess Victoria Holt was a bit too tame to explain my love for erotica too. Though an early introduction to what some people consider the line for them probably helped move my line in quite a bit further 😉 My first erotica was actually 50 Shades LOL
          Berls recently posted…#COYER Read-a-thon | End of Summer!My Profile

  7. Terri M.
    Twitter:

    The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is one of my all time favorite childhood books. I’ve re-read is several times and loaned out my copy to others as well. I finally found a copy of the first book that ever made me cry…A Taste of Blackberries. I haven’t reread it. I’m worried it won’t live up to my-sobbing-on-the-couch-in-our-basement expectations that I so vividly remember.
    Terri M. recently posted…Quote of the Week #35: Phyllis McGinleyMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      Now that’s a thought – what was the first book that made my cry? Hmmm…. it was Of Mice and Men. Yep, I’d still cry like a baby. LOL! I’m excited that an AVI book has stood up to your rereads, gives me hope mine will too 🙂
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 54th EditionMy Profile

  8. Corinna
    Twitter:

    There’s so many choices but some of my absolute favorite books from my elementary school days have stayed with me well into adulthood. Though the story lines have become rather hazy after all this time, I never forgot how the books made me feel and how enamored of them I was. “My Brother Sam Is Dead” by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier was heartwrenching to a 10-yr-old but I wonder if it would affect me the same way now. “The Egypt Game” by Zilpha Keatley Snyder was intriguing and introduced me to mythology. “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry was another intro to tragic historical events. I’ve wanted to re-read some of these for many years now but haven’t gotten around to it. This might be my catalyst for doing so.
    Corinna recently posted…Real Wedding – Steffi & Jordan Get Married in MayMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      I’d be really interested to hear how re-reading them works out, because it sounds like you’re in the same place with them as I am with this book. The story line is hazy at best, but the memory of reading it is so vivid! And I just wonder what it would be like for adult me, now versed in fantasy. Child me was discovering Fantasy for the first time, no wonder I was blown away, right?
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 54th EditionMy Profile

  9. Melanie Simmons
    Twitter:

    I remember reading books for school like White Fang, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Iliad and The Odyssey. I know I read more for school, but those are the ones that I enjoyed and remembered. The ones I remember reading for fun was Stephen King. I remember in seventh grade, I had three different teachers take Misery away from me because it was not age appropriate. It was my mom’s copy that she gave me to read. She was of the belief to let her kids read anything they were willing. I read horror books, my brother read the sports page and sports magazines. Neither of our tastes have changed. 🙂
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Those Who Wish Me Dead Audiobook ReviewMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      Would you believe I still haven’t managed to read a Stephen King book? I’m such a whimp, I read my first horror EVER just last weekend and, while it was great, it seriously freaked me out. And you can imagine that my parents wouldn’t have let me read Stephen King if that was how the responded to a children’s fantasy book LOL. I remember reading some really great ones for school too – lots of classics that I know would measure up, like Jane Eyre and Great Gatsby. I’m with your parents though, let the kids read what they’ll read! Because reading means thinking and thinking (hopefully) means making better decisions. My stepson reads comics and graphic novels and I’m the first one to go support his habit 🙂
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 54th EditionMy Profile

  10. Stormi
    Twitter:

    The books from my childhood that I remember the most are Steven King and Dean Koontz books which is why I like a lot of horror and suspense novels..they use to really scare me but now not so much so I don’t think re-reading them would do much for me and I am really just not into re-reads as I have to many new books to dive into. 🙂
    Stormi recently posted…Audiobook Tour: The Highlander +giveawayMy Profile

    • Berls
      Twitter:

      LOL you’re the second person to say you were reading Steven King as a kid. No way my dad would have allowed that (but we see how reasonable my dad was — also note, I keep saying dad and not mom lol). But I am a total wimp and not sure I could have handled Stephen King as a kid. Not sure I can handle him now even… will try soon. Maybe October in honor of Halloween and all things scary.
      Berls recently posted…Sunday Post | 54th EditionMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 0 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 9)