It is October (already!?) and we Quills are at it again. This time, the focus of our joint post is to share a book we loved, and read repeatedly, as a child. I don’t know about you, but it’s getting harder all the time for me to think back that far . . . In any case, for starters, I’m anxious to hear what my fellow Quills have for us.
Parker? What great read caught your fancy as a young one?
“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.”
― C.S. Lewis
I read and re-read many stories growing up. Some are still on my shelf today. Call it Courage, by Armstrong Sperry. Another is The Wolfling, by Sterling North, (best known for the children’s novel Rascal, a bestseller in 1963). It’s a coming of age story about ...
Thank you, Parker.
Robin, I’m sure you’ve something wonderful for us. So, please do share!
I was born into family of bibliophiles. Probably the best thing that ever happened to me. No matter where I lived (like way out in the sticks), I always had places to go, people to see, and things to do. I found them first in the family bookshelves. The doors to whimsy surrounded me, and I was not afraid to open them and explore!
And now, for my turn ...
I’m just going to come right out and say it: I’m cheating this time. You see, there is a great, great work for children, that I wish I had read as a child, but alas, I did not. I did not read it until I was an adult. However, from the very opening words, I can say that this tale is not just for children. In many ways, it is most especially for adults. (This is probably true of any great “children’s classic," don't you think?) And for some reason, this story has been on my mind of late. (I suspect it is time that I re-read it ...)
My choice is Where the Red Fern Grows. I remember the first time I read this story, as a young-ish adult. I was grabbed from the opening lines. The now-grown Billy of the story comes upon some dogs fighting, one of which is “an old redbone hound.” Rawls says, “It’s strange indeed how memories can lie dormant in a man’s mind for so many years. Yet those memories can be awakened and brought forth fresh and new, just by something you’ve seen, or something you’ve heard, or the sight of an old familiar face.”
I guess when I first read this story, “young-ish” though I may have been, I was also old enough to appreciate the truth of that statement. The introduction continues with the now-grown Billy of the story bringing that old hound home, bathing him, and feeding him all he could eat. Then, comes this:
He slept all night and most of the next day. Late in the afternoon, he grew restless. I told him I understood, and as soon as it was dark, he could be on his way. I figured he had a much better chance if he left town at night.
I don’t like to make many grandiose, all-encompassing, statements, but honestly, I don’t see how anyone who has ever loved an animal can read this opening without crying their eyes out—at least not as an adult. A child could, perhaps, as a child wouldn’t have the experience to know the feelings that these few lines illustrate. In any case, for me, this is what The Red Fern Grows, is all about. Yes, it is a tale of a boy who wants two hunting dogs so badly, that he works and works for two long years to save the money he needs to buy them. (This, of course, is a lesson today’s youth is in dire need of learning.) And, yes, it is a story of waiting, and of loving, and of sharing. And yes, it is a story of loss. But for me, it will always be a story that evokes that painful, yet beautiful, nostalgic-like, bittersweet sort of feeling of having experienced something and then having lost it—even while retaining a life-long possession of it somewhere deep inside in the form of a memory that can (and does) bubble up at the most unexpected of times …
If you have not read this tale, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If your children have not read it, do yourself a favor, and get a copy to read with them. Oh yes, and do not wait another day, as you've memories to create.
How about you? What are your favorite books from when you were a child?