I’ve just re-read The Stand by Stephen King. The uncut edition.
I am a more careful reader than I was in my younger days. Back then I rushed through a book, anxious to get to the end. Now, I’ve lived more, I can relate to a book in a different way, it speaks to me, by experience rather than curiosity.
Another book recently re-read is Gone With The Wind. I know, I know, drippy Old South romance novel, racist, “I don’t give a damn, tomorrow is another day” stuff. Blah, blah, blah….yak, yak, yak .
When I read GWTW as a teen, I had lived with it all my life, because, my mother loved the book. However, when my mother read it, she was a teen. It was an “old” book even then, as it was originally published and made into a movie the year she was born, so I guess she had grown up with it too.
I was told that the first movie I ever went to was GWTW at the tender age of 2 months at a drive in. That viewing slips my memory, but I do remember seeing it at drive ins and dusty old theaters each time it was re-released to theaters, and Dot and I would always go together.
Before this new fangled VCR craze, you could see GWTW once a year on CBS, like the Wizard of Oz. It’s sort of a rite of passage to me, my mother loved it and I loved it, and it was something we always had in common. When Mimi, Dot’s grandmother was sick in bed, I remember trying to read to her, I tried to read GWTW to her, I was six years old. I got probably through the first sentence, maybe, I mean a six year old’s vocab in 1967 is somewhat innocent compared to a 2010 six year old. So, If I could stumble through the first sentence, as a seasoned 1st grader, certainly I had no idea what it meant.
My next attempt was age 12. I skipped through some parts, disappointed when I could not relate a passage to the movie.
I finally read it in its entirety at age 15. Mostly while I was babysitting the LeGrange kids, way out in the wilds of Broussard LA. That was a sweet gig, the Dad would pick me up on Friday night, and I’d sleep over Fri and Sat and stay till Sunday afternoon, when I would go home with a $20 bill, good wages in 1976. The Mom and Dad stayed out late and got out early on the weekends, we never saw them come and go. But, I digress, badly.
I read it here and there in the years hence. But, I got the most out of it this last time I read it, about 6 months ago. When I read it when I was young, it took me back to a place I had heard of my entire being, the grand and glorious SOUTH!, by cracky! It lets you imagine that you are the most popular girl at the barbeque, you find out about southern history and antebellum south’s customs and what was expected young ladies back in the day………waaaaaaaaaay back in the day.
When you grow up and read it as a 49 year old adult, it’s a whole ‘nuther ball game.
First of all, Margret Mitchell wrote an astounding novel, I’m not talking just the story everybody gets from the movie, I’m talking back ground things. You call it cinematography in the movies, I don’t know what you call it in books. She only has this one novel, but she poured herself into it and she deserved every award she ever got because of it.
After you’ve grown up and experienced some struggles, come to terms with yourself, warts and all, learn a few things about loyalty and dogged devotion and worry and developed your survival instinct, read it again. When you read as an adult, when you can relate to worrying about making ends meet in hard times. Forget the movie, just use it as a frame of reference for reading the book. So that you know where you are when you’re attending the Twelve Oaks Barbeque. Reading it as a teen, then as a seasoned veteran of life may be the best way to get the most from it, as the heroine is 16 at the beginning and 30ish at the end.
So, I started out saying I read one book and ended up giving a book report on another. Sorry about that, it just flowed along, I couldn’t stop it. I recommend both books. Next time, The Grapes of Wrath. Movie versus book. Class dismissed.