What was the first book that completely took over your heart and soul and shook you to your rawest core?
It first happened to me as a 6th grader. I was a voracious reader, devouring everything I could get my hands on in the library. It was my way to withdraw into myself, to escape boredom, to experience things I was too young and sheltered to yet experience in real life.
Then a friend recommended this boring-looking book about a deep relationship between a boy and a girl, but there was no romance. This book broke the formulas I had come to expect and rely on in books. The girl was so unaffected by the female norms and expectations. I didn’t know you could do that! And then, the ultimate break from expectation, she died. She actually DIED! You can do that???? You can kill the main character????
Fast forward 20 years and I’m sitting in a movie theater with my own kids. We’re watching coming attractions. The screen goes black and silent.
Then a rope swings across the blackness.
I feel myself suck in my breath and hear my scream/gasp in recognition and dismay as I am transported right back into the book and all those emotions with the other 5 moms throughout the theater with me. We know with certainty exactly what’s coming.
My concerned kids whisper through the preview, “What’s wrong, Mom?”
“Why are you crying?”
”Just watch. I’m ok. It’s Bridge to Terabithia. I’ll explain after the movie.”
It was so great to get to share that experience with my kids. Watching them and comforting them as they experienced the questions and emotions the book raises with pre-teens.
Watching that movie as an adult, the I got completely different take-aways. I learned that a great book can mean different things to you at different times in your life.
I’m excited to see what happens this month when I re-read The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. I first read it in my late 20’s when I was despairing the loss of the faith I had been raised with. I deeply missed that faith. I was searching for something I could believe in. The ideas in this book opened my mind up to the new ideas that eventually led me back to my faith. It took over my mind and shook me to my rawest core just like Bridge to Terabithia had done in my childhood. Now I get to see what effect it has on my beloved girls in book club, and on me now that I’m in such a different place in life.
Until then, happy reading everybody!