Classics Club: September Meme

classics_club_buttonThe Classics Club has put up their monthly meme question:

Rereading a favourite classic at different stages of your life gives you different insights with each reading. Is there one classic you’ve read several times that also tells a story about you?

This is a tough one. Honestly, almost any book I re-read tends to give me different insights depending on the stage of life and my own state of mind at the time of reading it. If I consider classic books that I’ve read with the most time lapsed between readings, I think I’d have to go with Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This series of books was my favorite as a child, and I’ve since re-read the first one with my own children.

Considering how many times I read these books when I was young, I was surprised by how fresh they still felt and how much I still appreciated the gentle storytelling style that Ingalls brings to her tale of growing up in the wilderness of the American midwest in the 1800’s. When I read them as a child, I connected with the character of Laura to the point that I probably thought I was Laura half of the time, and the way her family’s life followed a particular rhythm in tune with the seasons and nature was very appealing to me. Like Laura, I wanted so much to be “good” even as I loved the tales of mischief that Pa tells her in the evenings.

I didn’t find the book quite as captivating as I remembered when re-reading it as a mother to my own daughters. I still enjoyed the writing style, but I found the over emphasis on chores around the home to be a bit wearying (my oldest daughter called it a ‘cooking’ book because it does refer to food preparation an awful lot!) Contrary to how I read them as a child, I found myself wanting to take them slowly, one chapter at a time, and I appreciated the lovely illustrations by Garth Williams more as well. I liked the aspects of American history and culture that I could share with my girls who don’t know a lot about that side of their heritage.

I’m not sure they will ever be favorites of my own children, but I still have a soft spot for these books considering what an impact they made on me as a child.

What about you? Do you have a favorite classic that has meant something different to you each time you’ve read it?

Head over to The Classics Club to see what other members are saying.

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5 thoughts on “Classics Club: September Meme

  1. A.M.B.

    I’m the same way when I re-read books. I almost always pick up a new insight on the book, my life, or both. Most recently, I found this to be the case with To Kill a Mockingbird, which I’ve written about on my blog.

    Reply
  2. Trish

    I love the way that you describe your readings of Little House and it’s how I would have loved to feel about the book. I wonder if your girls will end up looking back at the book fondly when they are older because of the fact that their American heritage is a little more foreign?

    Reply
  3. Brooke

    Great post, Beth! I’ve been loving everyone’s answers to this prompt. I agree with Trish and wonder how your girls will feel about the novel since the American aspects will be a bit foreign. I love that we can trace bits and pieces of our lives through the books we’ve read. I remember fondly checking Little House out from my library on a monthly basis…lol. I couldn’t get enough.

    Reply
  4. Brona

    Growing up in Australia we were first exposed to Laura via the TV series. I loved it and barely missed an episode. Having the visuals already in my head made it easier for me when I read the books later. As a child I remember being bored by all the talk of food storage too, but I now know things about smoking & curing meat, bears and tapping maple trees for syrup that I would never have learnt about in Australia otherwise 🙂

    Reply
  5. lauraj684

    Gosh, I forgot how much I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder. I longed to identify with Laura, though I was a bit literal as a child so also felt I should identify with Mary because she was blonde like me! So fascinating though, just so different to life today.

    Reply

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