I’ve recently finished re-reading The Twins at St Clare’s series by Enid Blyton. Enid Blyton was one of my favourite authors as a child: I loved her tales of boarding school mischief and midnight feasts. It always seemed so fun to me as a child and I still remember the feeling I used to get reading her books to this day; a warmth, safety, relaxation…
I wanted to write a book post about the pros and cons of re-reading your childhood favourites as I had quite a few conflicting thoughts during my re-read that I wanted to get down on paper.
People’s favourite childhood books often stick with them through the rest of their lives. For a lot of people, their favourite books are the Harry Potter series or The Chronicles of Narnia. There’s a certain pull towards our childhood favourites and a longing for the feeling we got when reading those stories when we were younger.
Re-reading your childhood favourites as an adult can give you another opportunity to discover new things in a book that you thought you knew so well. Reading a book as a child and reading the same book as an adult provides a very different experience – you have different experiences now, you see things differently, perhaps you might understand deeper aspects of the story that you didn’t previously… Not only can you rediscover the love for the story, but you can also rediscover aspects of yourself. They remind us of a different time, a simpler time. Re-reading old books are a way of thinking about your own life, reflecting on your past memories and experiences, transcending the passage of time. For example, I distinctly remember the first time I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – I was on a beach in Majorca on a family holiday. I’d get out of the sea, get covered in sand in the process and sit down to read Harry Potter for the rest of the day. I remember being hooked. I remember the feeling of intrigue I had and it truly felt magical.
However, your memories of a childhood favourite can become tainted if the book doesn’t quite live up to your expectations or you start to realise that it’s not evoking the same feelings as before. In the case of The Twins at St Clare’s when I read them as a child I never picked up on the fat-shaming, racism and stereotypes present, but reading this as an adult I picked up on these things a lot more and felt uncomfortable.
The books stay the same but our outlook on life changes and so the books change meaning as we re-read them. If you accept the possibility of this happening then re-reading your favourite books as a child is an absolutely fantastic way to reignite your childhood imagination and maybe feel that sense of wonder once again.
Thanks for reading!
Love, Zoë xx