I had always enjoyed books when I was a little girl but never did I crave them until after the surgery. Returning to school was not something I was looking forward to once I had healed. And my definition of "healed" was very different than my doctors. They allowed me to return to school with what they called "some swelling"... Translation: Your head still looks like a pumpkin but you need to get back in school. So I was sent to third grade as pumpkin head. Awesome.
Third graders aren't the most understanding people on the planet as you can imagine. Fabulous nicknames like pancake face soon surfaced followed by little boys requesting that i 'take them to my leader.' Yes, I was definitely on the fast track to popular kids table... Not so much.
The one order from the doctor that I believe kept me out of the lions den was that I was not allowed on the playground, I was still too fragile. I was more than willing to not be allowed at recess where comments could not be supervised by teachers but where would they send me? You guessed it, a glorious place we call the library. It provided me with an espace which was what I really needed. I quickly discovered that living through characters in books was not only a lot more interesting but it also offered promise and hope. The children in the classroom were very foreign to me but not the ones in books. In the books there were little girls who didn't fit in, had bad days and even ones who felt beautiful no matter what anyone else had told them. They took my hand and guided me into a place I never wanted to leave. In this world the poor became rich, the sick became well and ducklings became swans.
My love for books began there but never stopped growing. I still find that when life seems to be at its hardest I look to that same escape for comfort. This is why I began this blog and book club. Life doesn't seem very easy for many right now and the only thing better than finishing a book is being able to discuss it with others. A conversation about what the story meant to you and how you related to the characters is so fulfilling. You're not only discovering parts of yourself in the characters but through the people you are sharing the experience with.
Last night was the first meet at a quaint wine & coffee bar. The book was revealed over java mugs and flights of warm red wine. The excitement was palpable and as much as we were enjoying the company, a part of us all couldn't wait to get home curl into the pages. It was exactly what I had hoped and knew it would be. The promise for friendships, lives and imaginations to grow.
The first book: Little Children by Tom Perrotta