Wednesday, October 08, 2014

What Childhood Book Had The Deepest Impact?


Okay, it's a girls' book but no story stayed with me more than LITTLE WOMAN. I actually identified with each of the four girls:  Jo, the rebel and writer. Meg, the future mother, Amy, the pretty party girl, Beth, the sad but good one. As an adult, visiting the Alcott House in Massachusetts, was thrilling. I read this book over and over as I am sure all girls did then--and maybe still do.

What about you? What childhood book stayed with you?

32 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series had a real impact on me. So did Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess.

George said...

I was a huge fan of THE HARDY BOYS. And, I even read some NANCY DREW mysteries, too!

Charles Gramlich said...

Probably Jim Kjelgaard's dog books, such as Desert Dog, Snow dog, etc.

Anonymous said...

OLD YELLER and The Hardy Boys books.

Jackie said WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE.

Jeff M.

Loren Eaton said...

Same as Margot. I loved all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

pattinase (abbott) said...

OLD YELLER wrenched my heart from my chest.
I read all of these books too.

Ed Gorman said...

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.

Richard said...

Very Young: the four books for children by A.A. Milne: Winnie The Pooh, The House At Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, Now We are Six. The first two the stories, the second two are poems, all illustrated by Ernest Shepard. I can still recite parts or all of some of these poems.

Older: Kidnapped and Treasure Island by Stevenson, the Winston science fiction series, The Hardy Boys books.

Kelly Robinson said...

No hesitation: HARRIET THE SPY. While I was writing from a pretty young age, she was the one who really got me observing things and writing them all down. And she was so much her own person. I don't think a lot of people realize that even the fact that she wore old dungarees and a sweatshirt was pretty unusual then for a girl. I wanted to be like her so much that I started eating tomato sandwiches.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, I'm with George on "The Hardy Boys" to which I'll add Charles Dickens ("A Tale of Two Cities" and "Pickwick Papers"), George Bernard Shaw's plays, and lots of comic books.

Chris said...

I'm with Gramlich, only the Kjelgaard books I was into were Big Red, Irish Red, Outlaw Red, etc.

seana graham said...

Little Women casts a huge shadow over American girls' consciousness, I think, even if people don't always know that Alcott is the groundbreaker. I remember Amy Tan describing the sort of split she felt over the somewhat stereotyped picture of the only Chinese person to appear in the book, but of course up till then she had identified purely as a March girl.

I hadn't thought until you mentioned your identifying with all of them that they are a kind of archetypal four aspects of personality.

I don't know how much it is read now. My niece was reading it this summer, but I think she's more into the current craze for dystopian YA fiction.

I was never much of a rereader. I went through all the Mary Poppins books, and A Wrinkle in Time cast a spell on my circle of friends for a time.

F.T. Bradley said...

Agatha Christie. Reading her books made me fall in love with mysteries. I really should re-read them...

David Cranmer said...

The Hardy Boys series (any one of them) turned into Robert B. Parker and then I jumped back to Chandler.

Todd Mason said...

FFB items: THE LONER by Ester Wier; MY BROTHER STEVIE by Eleanor Clymer...and Keith Robertson's Henry Reed and Midge Glass novels, beginning with HENRY REED, INC., Twain (particularly the Sawyer/Finn novels and novellas, though DETECTIVE, barely a novelet, is very tired; ABROAD is rather good, better than than the broad, wrap it up ending of FINN) and Kipling, and so much short fiction, horror and otherwise, and forever saluting Robert Arthur's ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: anthologies and related items...but I never much cared for the Three Investigators novels (didn't much love any of the cookie-cutter mystery series).

seana graham said...

Oh, yes, Todd. I remember spending a happy summer with a couple of those Hitchcock anthologies.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Mostly out of my sphere. The only Twain I recall reading before my teens was Prince and Pauper.

Todd Mason said...

Never did read the original of that one, Patti. But read the huge Charles Neider compilations and almost all the novels when I was 9-11...was reading FINN in the summer we moved from Connecticut to New Hampshire, as I recall, particularly in the weekend we actually relocated. (The library in Enfield was so vastly better than the one I'd be dealing with Londonderry...happily, I could eventually use the Nashua, NH library.)

Todd Mason said...

Seana--yeah, they were rewardingly fat, yet full of short stories (and usually a novella or a short novel at the back). Did you read the YA anthos from Arthur as well, such as ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S MONSTER MUSEUM or SINISTER SPIES? Excellent book design on the hardcovers...pointless abridgement on the paperbacks.

seana graham said...

I don't remember the titles, though someone in the family probably still has them. We just had two hardbacks that were story collections. The one thing I still seem to remember is that one of the story hinged on someone being a solicitor. I think I remember it because I had no idea what they were talking about.

Cap'n Bob said...

When you say childhood I take it to mean pre-teen years. I can't recall reading any real books then other than a Whitman BBB of Andy Burnett and Little Golden Books when I was a pup.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Funny that I remember what I read those years far more than the books I read later.
It's because of the ritual of gong to the library every Friday and taking out my five books. After that I was more sporadic as other things got in the way.

Robin Watson said...

Anne of Green Gables

Richard said...

I read Robin's comment, I remember many of the girls in 6th grade were reading ANN OF GREEN GABLES and it's sequel. I'd forgotten that. Such a good version of it on PBS with Megan Fellows.

Richard said...

Was I the only one who read Robert Louis Stevenson as a kid?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Phil read and loved all of that sort of book, Rick. Still does.

Ron Scheer said...

Hands down, Eric Knight's LASSIE COME-HOME.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I read all those dog books. Always sad.

Al Tucher said...

It's strange. I always had a book, but I can hardly remember any of them. But I did read all the dog books by Albert Payson Terhune. I had no idea at the time that he was a local (New Jersey) author.

John said...

CHARLOTTE'S WEB. Still consider it one of the wisest and most compassionate books even if it is populated with talking animals.

Oh! and THE PIGMAN by Paul Zindel. Deeply affected me. I think I read the sequels too.

Oddly, I tended to avoid "children's classics" like TREASURE ISLAND which is really *not* a kid's book at all. Probably because everyone kept telling me they were the books I was supposed to read.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The Zindel book spoke to so many kids! And I steered away from anything smacking of CLASSIC too.

Todd Mason said...

I read anything that looked interesting, including Stevenson, Rick.

John: Still consider it one of the wisest and most compassionate books even if it is populated with talking animals.
--what does the second clause have to do with the first clause here? Fantasy is inherently stupid?