In this week's Celebrate the Small Things Blogfest, I celebrate memories made over a good book.
by Kim Van Sickler
Lately I had the incredible experience of sharing a book I love with my local critique group, my husband, AND my two children, ages 21 and 15. Whoa! That's a lot of sharing! Experiencing a moving story together is, I feel, a deep bonding experience. It's an event that transcends age and lifestyles, bringing people closer in a shared appreciation of something beautiful.
The book was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. My critique group was incredibly moved by the plight of the main character, Charlie, and thought the mode of storytelling, through a series of letters Charlie wrote, was a literary stroke of genius. Our discussion moved into the realm of mental illness and sexual abuse, weighty topics, and the sensitive way the author dealt with them.
My daughter, liking the trailer she saw for the movie and thinking the pocket-size of the book looked inviting rather than intimidating, decided to read it before we saw the movie together. Being a ninth-grader herself, she treasured Charlie, appreciating his sensitivity, and wanted him for her friend.
When we watched the movie together, along with my husband, we laughed and cried. I was thankful to have people who loved Charlie as much as I did to share the experience with.
The next evening, my son stopped by during his Spring Break from college to visit, and I watched the movie again with him. He was pleasantly surprised that the movie wasn't as "mushy" as he thought it would be and was moved by Charlie's circumstances. "You really have to root for him," he said. We discussed the letter-writing format of the book and I read the opening page to him. This is the same child I used to read the early Harry Potter books to (before he took them from me and read them on his own) and Goosebumps, and Crispin. In his college life that I'm sure he feels I can't relate to, it was a chance for us to reconnect.
Never underestimate the power of a good story.