Join 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 AVI
Published by Aladdin Books on October 1, 1988
Genres:Fantasy, Middle Grade
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?