Kids, reading, and "good" lit...

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Mon Aug 9 18:31:59 EDT 1999

My goodness, I'm having such a "light-bulb" moment!  (No point in my
re-re-posting everything, but it's the thread started with Tanaquil's post
of 7 August.) I won't go so far as to say anything about enlightenment, as
the feeling is more, why did I miss this when reading it myself???   This
goes way beyond "duh".  The part in Fire & Hemlock where she talks being a
hero and ignoring embarassment jumped right out at me the first time I read
it, and I thought it was a brilliant way to put it.  I would have
considered that my most important lesson (which I'm very much still in the
process of learning).  But somehow the question you've been discussing in
Howl's Moving Castle about Sophie's lack of recognition of her own gifts
causing her to strengthen the oldifying spell, pretty much escaped me.
Unfortunately, my daughter lent our copy to a friend of hers, so I can't
rush and check up, but, as I'm remembering it, there wasn't even any
question of anyone else telling Sophie that she was untalented or
worthless, was there?  Tanaquil mentioned "socialization", but the quote
given ("everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst...."
p.1)-- is rather ambiguous on whether this really was outside opinion, or
just Sophie's own decision that that was what everyone knew.  Makes it even
more her (and therefore my/our) own doing.  I'm still flumoxed as to why I
didn't notice what now seems so glaringly obvious.  Could it perhaps be
because I didn't believe there was any message in this for me, as I have no
gifts ?????

At least *now* I know what I can blame my own lack of self-belief on .  I
clearly didn't start reading Diana Wynne Jones when I was young enough.
I'm 41 now, and only found her books four years ago. (Thanks be!  It was
getting worrying thinking I might have been doing it to myself!)

Seriously, this discussion has been truly wonderful, and I appreciate this
list enormously.  Thanks!

(hallieod at

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley
--'To a Mouse,' Robert Burns

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