What were your favorite books as a child, and why?
oh my god! i loved reading nancy drew! i read every single one of those goddamn books because, like scooby doo, i really thought there were real ghosties and monsters, but it was just some fuck doing some bullshit. as i look back on those books and consider nancy drew's life it kind of pisses me off. in every single book she gets knocked out and dragged somewhere. okay, so that's a lot of brain damage for one blonde-headed broad to take. plus, the best side character was the huge dyke george! i wanted to see more of that george action! oh and the pleasantly plump bess. didn't nancy have some stupid boyfriend, too? ned? what kind of name is ned? he was probably a homo on the run. what i really loved was that i had some of the older versions of the books that were unbelievably racist! the nancy drew and hardy boy cross-overs were also ace.
i read every single one of those babysitter's club books. especially the mystery ones. those were so exciting to my young mind. it felt like a really, scary mystery until i read some stephen king not to long after that and my entire ten year old world was shattered. dashed upon the rocks like a million ships lead astray by a mermaid.
i absolutely loved reading the babysitter's club. i knew all of the characters a long time ago. there was the diabetic bitch named stacy, the artistic stupid asian named claudia and...i think some girl named mary anne, abby, dawn and i can't remember the others. i remember that abby had insanely crippling asthma. they all had their special ailment, didn't they? for the life of me i can't remember the main bitches name, but she was all tomboyish and basically a bossy dyke. whatevs.
there were two books that stood out in my childhood more than any others, though. i loved "my side of the mountain" by jean craighead george and "before women had wings" by connie may fowler. i remember when my mother had one of her episodes and threw away my copy of "before women had wings" and i was really just torn apart. that book spoke to me and i read it so many times, crying each time i read it. i suppose the abused child in me related to some degree. what i think is really interesting is that i read "before women had wings" while living in italy and then i ended up moving to tampa where the book is set. then i met a teacher, mr. fairweather, who was close friends with the author. at times i wonder if i was meant to read that book when i did and to seek the hope in it.
i'm still so haunted by the truth that mr. fairweather told us about how fowler's life really ended up. that it wasn't the way the book depicted, which is a work of creative non-fiction. part of me thought that i would write some story about my own life and have to sugar coat the truth because it was just so terrible. in actuality, connie may fowler was at her mother's deathbed and her mother just looked at her and said "go to hell". despite the truth or the reality, "before women had wings" is a book that undeniably changed my life.
on a lighter note, "my side of the mountain" is such a wonderful book. that book was purely escapism for me. i so wanted to just abandon my fucked up family life as a child and run to the mountains in italy. that book gave me the thought that i could really do it! i could just hit-hike to the abruzzi national park and live in the woods. "my side of the mountain" is a book that really instilled in me a sense of adventure. i felt like it would be so easy for me to just strike out on my own and live one with the wilderness. the reality of that situation was that i would definitely be eaten by a bear or mauled by a bobcat. most definitely, i would've died in the intense winters the region had. still, a large part of me really wants to live in the amazon rainforest and just be the wild woman of the jungle. it doesn't sound too bad. i'd just miss mcdonald's.