The 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.