Monday, May 07, 2007

Rereading Charlotte's Web...

On (sort of) a whim, I picked up a copy of Charlotte's Web at the bookstore on Friday night. See, I rented the latest animated/live-action hybrid movie a couple of weekends ago. I sat on my couch and bawled like a baby throughout almost the entire third portion of it. It was my first time seeing the movie, but not my first interaction with the story. The book was the first big-kid book I ever completed reading cover-to-cover. I was obsessed with it. It takes up a huge chunk of childhood memory space - memories of Charlotte's Web totally infiltrate and bathe my (...5? 6? don't remember) -year-old memories and everything about that time in my life. In fact, I think remembering how much the book meant to me - and why - makes every other detail of my life during that time come into focus even sharper. It's as if my memories of the book, and my own identification with it and characters in it, magnify every other aspect of my memory of the experience of my entire life at the time in which I first read the book.

the next book-obsession I had that I vividly, vividly recall was my all-consuming Ruth Chew-Mania. Thought I'd read every single one of her books 50 times over, but on recent inspection of Amazon, it looks like she wrote new stories after my obsession had long past. I asked my local bookseller if they had any of her books in stock (same bookstore visit as Charlotte's Web) and it looks as though many are out of print. It's too bad...I would love to recollect her books. They were so inspiring to me and I know they will be again, when I am able to rediscover them!

What was the first 'big kid' book you ever finished reading? Have you reread the book as an adult? I wonder if other people have a similar experience as I, with their first favorite chapter book.

5 comments:

cameo said...

I remember it very clearly! My first "chapter book" was A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L'Engle. What a book! It was quite a lot to take in as a child.

I think people who love books always remember "book milestones" like this but I'm not sure if other people do or not!

Kathy Weller said...

Hi Cameo! My oldest sister LOVED that book!! I think I read it too, but I don't remember. Funny the way we can remember some things so vividly, ad others, we don't! ;)
Thanks for sharing!!
Kathy

arvindh said...

This is a very beautiful illo! I love her expression,.

Kathy Weller said...

Ah...can't take credit for the beautiful artwork. But I can say that I agree!! :)

Jenny M. said...

Although Charlotte's Web was definitely and early read for me, the first book I remember finishing on my own was "Ramona Quimby, Age 8". Incidentally, I'm an adult education teacher by profession (helping adults work toward their GEDs). I always spend the first few minutes of class reading aloud to them as they trickle in to class, having come from work. We always vote on which book we'll read and my class voted unanimously to read "Charlotte's Web". My students are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s. That just goes to show, you are NEVER too old to love Charlotte's Web! I really enjoyed reading your post about it, Kathy, and MUST rent the new movie on DVD soon.