Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Impact of Books at Different Times in Our Lives

Have you ever read a book at a young age and didn't like it, but then you re-read it later in life, and suddenly it resonated so powerfully that you couldn't imagine not liking it before?

This happened to me when I re-read Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

It impacted me so much as an adult that I integrated it briefly into my novel The Art House.

If you've never read The Awakening, it's about a woman who is constricted and conflicted by the societal roles placed on her as a female. She wants her freedom and wants to feed her soul, not just play a role that the world tells her she needs to play. In short, it's a feminist novel. This is a concept that I somewhat grasped as a teenager. I think I was 17 years old when I read it in high school, but the overall theme was still too deep for me to fully appreciate at such a young age. In fact, I skimmed the book, read the Cliff Notes, and didn't do well on the exam. It's funny because I fancied myself a rather mature 17-year-old; however, I see now that I was still pretty much an ignorant kid with so much left to learn.

Then, lo and behold, over a decade of life experience and some years as a married woman later, I picked the book up at the library. It was almost like it was calling to me from the shelf. So I gave it another shot. And wow. I totally got it the second time around. 

It was a really cool experience for me, and it made me wonder what other books I might have read in high school or college that I didn't care for, but that I might possibly really like now.

Has this ever happened to you before? If so, what book did the trick?



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