Thursday, March 6, 2014
Once Upon a Time
Reading is one of the events with multiple opportunities. Depending on where we are in life, we may (or may not) enjoy a particular book--even a much anticipated book. Then later, at a different time in our life, even a few weeks or months later, the story might have great meaning or solace for us.
I think that's why I re-read books. Sometimes, that old favorite has something especially important to tell me. Sometimes, it makes all the difference in how I'm dealing with a particular issue in my life. No, I'm not talking about self-help or non-fiction books. I'm speaking about the wide world of fiction. Mystery, romance, westerns, suspense. A good story has something to say, regardless of genre.
We just aren't always ready to hear what's there. Hence, re-reading the story later.
Recently, I re-read a story I first read nearly forty years ago. At that time, I desperately needed the humor and hope the story gave to me. It made all the difference in my life. When I re-read it more recently, it was a mildly amusing book, but didn't carry the same punch it did before. And that's quite okay. That just means I'm in a much better place now than then. I still enjoyed the shenanigans of the characters, but now see them from the perspective of a different age and experience.
Quite a few years ago, a woman reviewed one of my books. She prefaced her review, almost apologetically, by explaining she was bored and not feeling well so she'd chosen to read my book as a nightcap. When she finished her scathing review, she gave it two stars. Small wonder my story didn't speak to her on any level!
I often wonder about reviewers' lives and how they're affected by their personal issues when they review a book. Of course, we all know they're supposed to be objective, but that's plainly impossible. All of us are influenced by the events surrounding us. That's pretty much why I discount the opinions of others when it comes to movies, television shows, books--even art.
Let each of us experience it on our own. And if it speaks to us, let that be enough.