J. Fitzgerald (was Re: OT Childhood favorites)

M Elizabeth Parks meparks at mtholyoke.edu
Sun Feb 9 20:08:11 EST 2003

Gili: >I remember how difficult it was for me to read Jane Austen for the
>time. The subtle differences in language and conventions from what I was
>more accustomed to reading made it really difficult for me to get into
>spirit of "Pride and Prejudice" - but I had to read it for a class. And
>at some point, I must have mentally "cracked" it. All of the sudden I
>started enjoying the book tremendously.


This happened to me with _Name of the Rose_, where I tried reading it at
and couldn't get it, and read it two years later and loved it.  The
experience was great on another level, because it helped me get over my
feelings of inadequacy at not liking Dickens.  :)  Clearly I hadn't
that level of maturity yet.


This has happened to me several times--it took me years to get through
Jane Eyre, and now I'm doing my thesis on it.  I had to come back to _The
Count of Monte Cristo_, and I still haven't gone back to Dickens because I
hated it soo much when I first had to read it, in school.  When I used to
work in Barnes and Noble, I was bothered by how many classic books--ie,
almost anything that was over seventy years old and was considered Worth
Reading--were in the children's section.  I think that I was turned off a
lot of things by being made to read them too early: some Shakespeare (I
learned to love Hamlet, but I still dislike Romeo and Juliet), Tolkien
(though this was because my father, who loved it, started reading it to me
when I was three or four--it might have taken had it not started until I
was at least eight), and Dickens (my first grade teacher thought that
because I read at a fifth grade level I should give _A Tale of Two Cities_
a go.

I also had a stage where I was younger in which I could not bear anything
with really unhappy endings, and I disliked characters with strange sexual
backgrounds (ie, especially sexually active characters), because I wasn't
at a point in my maturing process where I could see the benefits of these
things, and so they depressed me unbearably.

and the point of this is: I think I need to reread Fire and
Hemlock.  Because I guess I wasn't ready for it, or not right for it, when
I read it at twelve or thirteen, and I haven't read it since.



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