After my last few blogs about the wonders of Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder and how much it's helped me with my writing, I decided to make this installment about someone other than me.
But first I have to talk about me for a second:
I fell in love with books, with good writing when I was a kid. They were my escape. Severe asthma and the side effects of my terrible medications tainted almost everything in my life: playing, participating in nearly anything at school, outdoor activities, even sleeping. The only thing asthma and drugs couldn't touch were my books. In them, I could do everything; no physical limitations held me back from adventure. Lost in the pages of a riveting novel, I found freedom and hope.
The first book I went completely AWOL over was Jane Eyre. Jane had a hard childhood, wasn't physically healthy or impressive (like me) and yet somehow she ended up in a mysterious mansion with a fascinating, tormented rich guy; a secret, lunatic wife; and a French love child. How could I not get sucked in?
The much loved and now dilapidated book still sits on the top shelf of my bookcase and every time I look at it, I have to smile. I think of the many hours of relief it gave me from my physical suffering. Like Jane, I've moved past my sickly childhood and have lived an exciting life (minus the lunatic wife, love child, and tormented rich guy). Books still have the power to take me away from the depressing or mundane. They transport me to exciting, dangerous or challenging places and I can't imagine my life without them.
Here comes the part that's not about me:
I put out a Facebook invitation for friends and family to tell me their first favorite book and why it meant so much to them. I was overwhelmed by how passionate people were about their first bookish loves. Here's a few (I wish I could have included them all!) of the many replies I received:
"I have been trying to narrow this down, but if I had to pick just one book I would choose Little Women or Indian Captive (I can't pick just one!!). Those were probably the first ones that showed me that you could go to a whole new world and time and place while snuggled up in bed."
"It started in childhood: fairytale - Cinderella; mysteries of Nancy Drew; adventure on the Kon-Tiki; historic tale of young Johnny Tremain ... and SOOO many more. Over the years the written word transported me through a life journey of knowledge, wonder and imagination.
"In 4th grade I started in the fiction section with authors starting with A. I systematically went through the books alphabetically reading all that looked slightly interesting. Bobsey Twins, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew slowed down my progress for a while. In 6th grade I started reading more advanced books, the ones that got me hooked were by the author of Jaws. I found my love for non-fiction in WWII books like The Children Were Sent Away and The Hiding Place. That love continues."
A good book can guide us through life, especially one that came into our hands at a fortuitous moment in our childhood. Which one(s) grabbed you?