Introduction

Mary Ann Dimand amaebi at iwon.com
Tue May 2 13:38:33 EDT 2000


Courtney raised a fascinating topic:

> Hmm... has anyone ever found that they try rereading something
> they read as a child and find they're reading it as that 12-
> year-old (or whatever) again?  I know I missed a lot in some
> of the books I read as a child or a teenager, but when I go
> back and read them now I have to make a conscious effort to
> not regress into that child or teenager and see no more than I
> saw before.

I'm a veteran of having read quite a few books when I was substantially too
young for them. :D For one thing, I hadn't much sense of humour as a child,
and certainly not an eye for the humour of character-- each person I met was
sui generis to me, really.

I read some much-loved books so much that they were engraved on my brain,
and I had exactly the same regression you describe. Pride and Prejudice and
A. A. Milne's Once on the Time are the two that come first to mind. I ran
into a similar effect with some other books I hadn't read as often, but had
read within a year or so.

Eventually, I learned how to read past those grooves, at first mostly by not
reading the books in question for five years or (oftener) ore. It was an
astonishing experience.

Now, I read books as two people-- the childhood me, and the current me. I
find this particularly valuable in some inchoate fashion.

I have the same experience with the vast proportion but tiny number of
movies I saw with only partial comprehension as a child....

It's a curious feeling.

Mary Ann

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