Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Should You Ever Go Back?

By Richard Jay Parker

Was rolling my eyes along one of my bookshelves recently and they stopped at a book that I hugely enjoyed when I was eleven years old.  I took it down and felt tempted to read it again but resisted and put it back.  I wondered if I would see it in the same light as when I'd first devoured it or if the reading experience would be tainted by my own.

It's a little like having a great holiday somewhere then going back.  Frequently you don't quite recapture the magic.  It's not always the case but will reappraising a work you enjoyed as a young reader with the analysis of an adult or that of an even more hypercritical writer change your first perception of it?

I was at the perfect age when I enjoyed The Catcher In The Rye.  I don't feel there's any point in going back to that one. 

It works better the other way, I think.  I read Conan Doyle before my teenage years and thought it very stuffy.  I'm positive if I read it now I'd find a treasure trove that I'd missed before.

Reading or writing them every book is a legitimate part of the journey, no matter how our taste and intellect develops.

If you are tempted probably the best answer is to read chapter one again.  If it doesn't fire you up as much as it did the first time just put it back and leave the remainder glowing nostalgically at the back of your mind.

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