Are they the perfect comfort read or does it destroy the memory?
When I was 12 and looking for something to read, there wasn’t a lot on offer. YA didn’t have the bountiful and varied offerings it does today.
There were some standards; Bridge to Terabithia, the Chocolate War, and of course Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea books. There was also a publishing imprint called Teen Tracks. That’s where I discovered Louise Lawrence.
Louise Lawrence wrote science-fantasy that teleported me to another galaxy, exactly where I wanted to be. The Warriors of Taan, The Earth Witch, Moonwind and Children of the Dust were my favourites. Most of the books disappeared over the years but I still have a copy of The Earth Witch and I want to read it.
But I’m nervous.
I’m worried that it can’t possibly live up to my memory of it. I’m not sure if it’s possible to re-read a book without comparing it or judging it against your memory and ideas of it. And do I really want to interfere with that?
There is the possibility of rediscovering an old love and finding something that is timeless in the text, something that spoke to the past me and still resonates today.
But there’s also the chance that it doesn’t work as an adult read. I’m worried about the literary version of going back to a place and finding that, now that I’m big, it doesn’t match with my memory of it at all.
It’s different to re-reading a favourite adult book. There are so many more of them and I was already mostly me when I read them.
Adolescence is such a unique time. Our ideas about it are often still a bit fragile and I’m worried about tampering with my formative escapism and heroes. Is it better to leave past influences alone?
Writer and blogger Rahnia Collins got me thinking about this. She knows her YA and is often revisiting her old favourites. For her, they seem to be like trackies and a cup of tea, pure comfort.
Which sounds lovely.
So with the optimism and potential of a comfort read, I think I’m going to give the re-read a go.
Are there any of your old favourites which fell from the pedestal after a re-read or some which still move you today?
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