How do our childhood reads affect us?

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I was struck by a thought today, just the one you understand, I can’t cope if I have more than one thought in a day.

As a child, do books shape us or are we drawn to the books that suit us best? How do those books affect us?
What really sinks in and stays with us through to adulthood?
Would I be a different person if the first book I read by myself was Alice in Wonderland opposed to wind in the willows? Did my first read affect the kind of books I hanker after in later life?

From personal experience I remember how certain books affected me and can perhaps hazard a tentative guess as to how they shaped me into the well adjusted adult I am today. *cough cough*

I remember reading Roald Dahl’s Matilda and really wanting to be able to move objects around the room. I was, and still am, really bad at maths so I also really wanted to be as intelligent as Matilda was.

I also read Robin Jarvis, a gruesome series of books that made me wonder what animals got up to when we weren’t looking. Apparently they aren’t as cute and fluffy as they look.

I read Judy Blume and Enid Blyton, which were all very innocent and I believe that they allowed me to look past the very proper language of the classics.

Looking back I think these are possibly some of the things that I took away from my most memorable reads.
From Enid Blyton I didn’t learn a lot, very rarely does a school experience revolve around lashings and lashings of ginger beer, but they do tend to revolve around pranks. However I did love the characters that “turned over a new leaf.” It made me want to see the best in people.
From Matilda I learnt that if you put your mind to something you can overcome almost impossible odds. Also don’t always trust adults, they could be a dodgy car salesman.
With Robin Jarvis I think my lesson was that there is very rarely a completely satisfactory resolution to everything and beware the local squirrels. They look shifty for a reason.
These are the messages that I took away from my reads. How much it has affected me as an adult, who can say.

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4 thoughts on “How do our childhood reads affect us?

    • It must be a thing, I shall have to conduct a very unscientific poll.
      Any-one else out there love Matilda and struggle with math?

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  1. I remember Enid Blyton was ok but Nancy Drew was better and Jane Eyre was extraordinary. I think I was searching for the girl who could survive against all odds, perhaps I still am – its now ‘Women of the Revolution – 40 years of feminism’ on the bedside table 🙂

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    • I used to love nancy drew as a kid, I remember hunting for her books at car boot sales. I could never get hold of very many though. I’m also ashamed to admit Jane Eyre is one I haven’t read… yet. But I agree, I do love a good strong female character.

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