I have written before about my first memorable experience with reading. It was the summer between 6th and 7th grade. It was before I discovered that some boys were attractive. It was during a very emotionally tumultuous time in my life. Mother Nature and I fought very bitterly over my body. My brother and I fought just as bitterly over why, all of a sudden, normally activities like jumping on the trampoline and going swimming were out of the question [for me]. For the record, my brother just didn't understand. Mother Nature, however, is just a bitch.
A friend of my mother's needed to unload a refrigerator box full of books. I was a good student so she assumed I liked to read. Until then, I read what I had been required to read without complaint, but never for fun. This woman brought this box of books to me. That box changed my life.
I was so desperate to escape my own life that once I cracked the cover on the 1st book, it was a done deal. I started with the easy stuff [aka age appropriate]. GOOSEBUMPS books were popular then and I found a few in the heap. "CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE" books were next. I always cheated by reading every page option before making a choice, yet somehow my character still always died. After that, I moved onto NANCY DREW. That chick could do anything! I read every single one of the Nancy Drew books, something around 50 of them, in the box and found a handful of Hardy Boys books too.
By the end of the summer, I only had a few books left in that box. Most didn't look like something I'd read. The men didn't wear enough clothes. Neither did the women for that matter. Instead, I picked up one called FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC. The cover made me think it was a horror story. I guess I was partly right. The story probably traumatized me- or at least, it was responsible for good portion of nightmares. I read the entire series.
After V. C. Andrews, I decided to give the Harlequin romances a chance. I blame them, 100%, for my terrible taste in men, my unrealistic views on beauty and love, and my penchant for erotica.
Despite all of this, to this day my most beloved book is NOT NOW SAID THE COW, a reworked version of "The Little Red Hen" folk tale. I bought the children's book at a Scholastic book fair during Junior High. For years, I remembered the story but not the title until a student jogged my memory a few weeks back. Little Golden Books published a version of THE LITTLE RED HEN that the classroom library had and my student chose to read aloud. I knew then that my story was based on this story. After speaking to a couple teachers during lunch and multiple Google searches on our parts, we finally discovered the title I had been missing for almost 20 years. The reunion almost made me cry.
For such a little thing, a book elicits powerful emotions and memories. Some fond, some not so much, but always strong and honest reflections of time and place, real and imagined and remembered.
Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS