Today, I want to talk about perspective.
Specifically, how a book can read differently from the view of a child than from early adulthood. (There is probably even another layer here with later adulthood, but I can’t yet speak to that.)
This year I’ve been reading in two directions, forward with the ARCs I’ve collected and backwards with my TBR backlog and delayed re-reads. And what I’ve noticed with the re-reads is that sometimes books work better for a specific age, but I’ve also been surprised that my feelings for a book are very similar.
I just finished re-reading The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, and I remember loving this book when I first discovered it in grade school. I still found myself enjoying the easy, quick read, but I didn’t feel the same love when I finished. On a critical note, the setup to the story was drawn out over the first half of the book and the epic poem of Drualt was included almost in its entirety over the course of the novel. Also, the romance was underdeveloped and a little creepy.
But, this mixed-up fairy tale did a great job portraying two differently strong female characters who had to overcome princess stereotypes and use their strength and wits to prevail at the end. As a young girl, this read was important to my flailing self-confidence as it showed that I could overcome my fears to become the person I wanted to be.
This book is great for younger readers who may need a boost to their self-confidence or who love other books by Levine. Readers of an older age and maturity will also enjoy this fun read, but it may not hold the ground-breaking revelations that make it great for those younger readers. No matter what your age, The Two Princesses of Bamarre is a lot of fun.
Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys.
But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys – along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending.
As I continue to reach my reading goals this year, I’ll share more reflections about how perspective can color re-reads and what they mean to my life’s journey. Have you noticed this phenomena in your own reading? Feel free to share your stories in the comments. 🙂