Tuesday, July 17, 2012

#ifbookswerereal and Honoring the Friends We Made in Books

I'm a Book Nerd.

I'm more than okay with that, it's a flag I fly high and with great pride.

But you can't get into the Society of Proud Book Nerds without some help from great people.  I was reminded of this when I read a poignantly written blog post by ONE FOR THE MURPHYS author, Lynda Mullaly Hunt on the Nerdy Book Club's blog.  She called it "The Year I Met Peter", and she describes how her sixth grade teacher, Mr. Christy, introduced her to Judy Blume's evergreen Peter and Fudge in TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING and changed her life.  She spoke about Peter as if he were a friend she'd been waiting her whole school life to meet, and I knew EXACTLY what she meant.

It prompted me to think about my own childhood book friends.  As I contemplated, I was messing about on Twitter (oh! the technology, how she tempts me!) and I started tweeting about the characters I wish I'd met in real life, because they made such a huge impact on my life.

I wished I had made the toothpaste mural that Ramona made in her bathroom sink in Beverly Cleary's RAMONA AND HER MOTHER. #ifbookswerereal

Looking back, my mother and Ramona's mom were much alike, and well, I was kind of like Ramona.  It makes a lot more sense through the lens of my life experience now.  That toothpaste decoration represented all the times I knew I was doing something I shouldn't, but the creative muse had stolen my reason and I was left holding a metaphorical empty toothpaste tube and wondering how to get all the toothpaste back in.

I always wished Betty MacDonald's MRS. PIGGLE-WIGGLE would invite me over for a tea party.  #ifbookswerereal  

She was round and squishy and kind and wonderful to strays - animals and children alike.  She reminded me of all of my grandmothers rolled into one + Magic. (Although I suspected that my grandmothers all had some magic squirreled away in their powder-scented hugs.)

At 14, I wanted to be Ponyboy, Sodapop, and Darry's little sister in S.E. Hinton's THE OUTSIDERS. #ifbookswerereal

I couldn't talk to real boys at that time...like...AT ALL. So, the dangerous and downtrodden gang of boys in THE OUTSIDERS made me feel like I could help them and they could accept me.  In my heart, I felt sure that if I'd been there, I could've saved Dally and Johnny.

I wanted to marry Adam Trask in John Steinbeck's EAST OF EDEN. #ifbookswerereal

I discovered so much to love AND hate about the characters in Steinbeck's opus. Steinbeck gave me such insight into the truth about family and relationships. Here was Adam, the man who had the best intentions and seeks the perfect life with the perfect family, and I just wanted to show him that it didn't have to be perfect, it could just...be.

I wanted to have coffee and commiserate with Garp after the car accident in John Irving's masterpiece THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP. #ifbookswerereal

Garp, like me, lived inside his head, noticed the absurdity around him, and was sometimes too intelligent for his own good. He also had the most human of failings, falling prey to lust, and life kept walloping him upside the head. My heart broke into a million pieces more than once reading this book. I just wanted Garp to know that he wasn't alone, that others felt just like him.

I wanted to help Offred escape from the Republic of Gilead and find her child in Margaret Atwood's THE HANDMAID'S TALE. #ifbookswerereal

I was so angry for her. I wanted to learn how to steal cars and be daring just to push her off the edge to escape. This was only my second taste of dystopian fiction, (BRAVE NEW WORLD came first) and remains my favorite of the genre. Atwood made me want to be brave.

I wanted to befriend Arturo in Katherine Dunn's GEEK LOVE and help him see the good in people. #ifbookswerereal

This lovely, heartrending, twisted tale introduced me to the reality of the measures people will go to in order to feel a part of something or to stand out from the crowd...or both.  Arturo, devilish, cruel, and greedy, nonetheless was a little boy at heart who needed consoling.  Also, it convinced me I'm kind of a sucker for wounded geniuses.

I wanted to cry with Fern and tell Holden it would all be okay in Jo Knowles' SEE YOU AT HARRY'S. #ifbookswerereal

This is just one among the MANY MANY MANY great books I've read.  This blog doesn't have enough space to contain all of the things I would do #ifbookswerereal.  

What would you do #ifbookswerereal ? I'll be watching on Twitter to find out! 

No comments:

Post a Comment