A book is a book, or is it?

Boy with book

“Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own”.
-William Hazlitt

There was one book in my childhood, which shone brighter than all the others it was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I read this book over and over. My mother was the school librarian, and she would exclaim ‘again?’ when I’d place the book on her desk on library day. My mother probably thought my recurrent borrowing was because the library was very small, (actually almost non-existent – one wall of fiction) or because I did not own any books myself. The reason was that this book spoke to me like no other had before it. I believe that there is at least one book in a child’s life, which has such a profound impact that it stays with them for life. I can picture a generation of “Harry Potter” fans nodding their heads at this statement.
Mary Lennox, The Secret Garden’s protagonist, was with me when I was sad, happy or lost in a daydream. I suspect a little part of her creeps into my lead characters in every story I write. I believe we are drawn to someone we identify with or someone who embraces the qualities we wish we had. Mary was stubborn, and I’ve been called that once or twice, okay, I’ve been called that a lot, but she was also brave, tough and adventurous, all qualities I admired.
Let me know what book/character shaped your childhood.
“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow”- The Secret Garden


2 thoughts on “A book is a book, or is it?

  1. There are so many books that touched me as a child, but I think the one that influenced me the most was The Scarecrows by Robert Westall. If you’re interested, my review on Goodreads ( https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/782696155 ) explains why. But briefly, I just thought it was extraordinarily well written, and I’ve always liked ghost stories and this was an especially good one – but the human relationships and conflicts portrayed in the book are at least as dramatic as the paranormal ones, and so you might say it marked a turning point for me towards more adult, mature fiction. (Though I still love a good ghost story!)

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