月曜日, 7月 12, 2004

I Don't Remember Why I Liked These Books So Much

These books were among the most often re-read of my childhood collection, but why did I like them so much? The reason escapes me.

1) From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
   E.L. Konigsburg

   This is not a bad book. In fact, it's pretty well-written, but now it escapes me what exactly the point was. Recently I rented The Royal Tannenbaums. Early in this angst-filled movie about child prodigies in a dysfunctional family, there is a nod to this modern classic of children's literature when two of the children run away to a museum. Is it a symbol for identifying more with the intellectual world of the mind than with your parents? The intellectual kids of this book and The Royal Tannenbaums have a lot in common in that respect, but most kids these days have more pressing problems to worry about.

2) Harriet the Spy
   Louise Fitzhugh

    I think I re-read this a lot just trying to figure it out. Many aspects of Harriet's life in an upper-class New York family made no sense to me. What is an egg soda? What's a dumbwaiter? Why did the rich woman want to stay in bed all day? Why did Harriet have a nanny, and why did she need someone take care of her when she was already, what, 12? It intrigued me, but ultimately it's a flawed book that is becoming more fatally dated with each passing generation. The recent movie version did nothing to revive the popularity of this dying children's classic.

3) The 100th Thing About Caroline
    Lois Lowry

    Yeah, I re-read this a lot and liked it, my favorite of Lois Lowry's, probably because I identified with the main character, Caroline. But the plot had nothing important or deep about it, as far as I can remember. Why did I like it? I may never know.

4) The Mouse and the Motorcycle
    Beverly Cleary

    I was fond of this story about a mouse. It was pretty light, without the deeper undertones of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, though, so I don't feel like it justifies a place on my favorite book list.