[DWJ] Impress of first book? (was Homeward Bounders)

Eleanor Joslin eleanor at dreamvine.org.uk
Thu Apr 14 13:28:57 EDT 2011

My first was *Charmed Life* when I was about 10.  I remember being wowed 
by the use of other worlds - I'd read the Narnia books, so I was 
familiar with the basic idea, but I think I assumed that although every 
story with magic in happened in a made-up world, it wasn't a *different* 
world from ours unless the book said so.  *Charmed Life* said so in what 
seemed to me a new and totally genius way.

After that I was read *The Ogre Downstairs* at school, and I found a few 
more in libraries - *Howl's Moving Castle*, *Witch Week*, *Power Of 
Three*, and one I was obsessed with for a while, *The Lives of 
Christopher Chant*.  But she didn't consciously become my favourite 
author until I was 13 and we moved to a new area.  I found *The Ogre 
Downstairs* in my new school library, like meeting an old friend, and 
proceeded to read all the others they had.  I held off reading *Fire and 
Hemlock* for a while, because it looked like a romance and they weren't 
my thing, but when I did read it it blew me away.  My obsession with it 
lasted about a year and a half, on and off - one of the breaks was while 
I had an *Archer's Goon* obsession shortly after it was on TV.  By this 
time I was also buying the books; the first one I bought without having 
read it beforehand was *The Homeward Bounders*.  I had more than 20 by 
the time I was 16, and celebrated the end of my exams that year by 
holing myself up with some Kendal mint cake and the newly published 

My regret is that, due to the intense DWJ-ness of my teens, I didn't 
read more widely.  She is so obviously always in a dialogue with other 
books, but most of the time I don't know which ones.


On 14/04/11 10:41, Kyra Jucovy wrote:
> In common with, seemingly, many of you, my first DWJ was *Dogsbody, *but it
> definitely wasn't the one that made me go out and seek the rest of DWJ -
> that was *The Lives of Christopher Chant*.  My memory, which may or may not
> be accurate, is that my parents actually gave me *Dogsbody *for my eighth
> birthday and that I read TLoCC several months later, but, anyway, both were
> when I was around eight.  I have more of an appreciation for *Dogsbody *as
> an adult and still have an appreciation for TLoCC, but neither one of them
> is my favorite or has ever been my favorite (I always have a definite
> favorite DWJ book, but this changes over time.  When I was a kid, it was *Witch
> Week*, as a teenager it was *Archer's Goon*, as a college student it was *Fire
> &  Hemlock*, and as an adult it's *The Homeward Bounders*.  As an adult I
> kind of feel that THB is the perfect book and that it's hard to imagine my
> tastes ever changing again, but then, I know I felt exactly that way as a
> teenager about *Archer's Goon*.).
> ----Kyra
> On Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM, Ehsan Roudiani<es at historicalfact.com>wrote:
>> F&H is the one I'm in love with too - I read it when I was much too young
>> to have much of a clue about what it was about! My big sister had F&H,
>> Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant, Archer's Goon and The Ogre
>> Downstairs, they were my collective introduction to DWJ. I read Dogsbody as
>> well but didn't enjoy it - aged about 7, it was too sad for me!
>> I probably read F&H about 4 times a year, and it's still my favourite book
>> by any author. I know it off by heart and have never gotten sick of it.  I
>> don't tend to reread Ogre or Archer a lot, but I do go through the
>> Chrestomanci ones on a reasonably regular basis.
>> Ehsan.
>> On 13 Apr 2011, at 18:53, slwones at gmail.com wrote:
>>   I read Dogsbody at 10 and liked it a lot, but didn't then go pursue every
>>> DWJ book ever written. I remember it mostly because my father picked it up
>>> one night, read it all the way through, and then talked to me about it for
>>> the next few days. I was impressed that one of MY books had hooked a
>>> grown-up.
>>> I tend to think of Fire&  Hemlock as my first DWJ since that is the one I
>>> fell completely in love with and that led me to obsessively chasing down
>>> all
>>> of her other books. F&  H is still definitely my favorite. Then I have
>>> about
>>> five second favorites.
>>> Suzanne
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