Author Colleen McCullough passed away on January 29. In her honor, I am re-posting this best books guest post by Laura Zera. Laura uses her signature humor to explore how her reading tastes evolved beyond her years. Laura is also one of my earliest Twitter friends, and we’ve met twice now at July’s Pacific Northwest Writers’ Conference in Seattle. And she recently lent a much needed ear in the tale of woe life has recently brought my way. Hands down, Laura is good people. She’s also set to hold her first Desire Map Workshop this February.
The Thorn Birds as Children’s Literature
The layout of the children’s section in my elementary school library did not lend itself to academic dignity. It wasn’t Mrs. McGowan’s fault. In her plaid skirts and turtlenecks, she was an efficient librarian, doing the best she could with the space provided. But while non-fiction got a double aisle of five-foot tall shelves plus an entire wall, and fiction got the whole other wall behind the check-out desk, the children’s books occupied squat shelves that were just two deep and situated beneath the windows. I had to sit on the carpet and scoot like a sand crab from alphabetical section to alphabetical section just to scan the spines. By the time I got to P, my already-saggy tights were even saggier, the crotch having dropped down to somewhere around mid-thigh.
Within months of learning how to read, I swept through Babar, Curious George and the rest of the picture books; they were instant rice, five minutes and done. I wanted stories with suspense and emotion, not an elephant in a cheap three-piece suit. Not even the school’s tall stacks of fiction could hold my attention, though. With my consumption rate of 20 to 25 books per month, it didn’t take but until third grade before the choices on those shelves started to dry up, too.
Our sweet grandparent-like neighbors, the Dalgleish’s, must have sensed my irritation with formulaic prose because for my eighth Christmas, they presented me with The Hobbit. I hid it under my dresser like a valuable prize that might be stolen before I could finish it. But finish it I did, followed by the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was then that the page counts of my book selections increased in direct proportion to the decrease in the size of the typeset.
The nearest public library was just a mile away from home, and my mother took me there often. This was a good thing, as I’d already powered through the row of her books on the rickety sideboard in our family room, Sophia Loren’s searing new biography and I’m OK, You’re OK among them. At the library, Mum would sit in one of the vinyl armchairs in the back corner and flip through magazines while I disappeared for an hour (back in the days when doing so didn’t trigger a missing child alert). I’d discovered epic romance – Little Women and Gone with the Wind, then even spicier books by Judith Krantz, Barbara Taylor Bradford and the woman who caused me to shed a thousand tears, Colleen McCullough, author of The Thorn Birds.
The only time I cried more than when I read The Thorn Birds was a few years later, when I watched The Thorn Birds in its mini-series incarnation. In fact, crying is rather an understatement. I bawled so dramatically and frequently throughout the book’s 700 pages that family members would feel compelled to check on me and make sure I hadn’t somehow accidentally severed a limb or impaled myself on a mechanical pencil.
My older sister Julie liked to tease me when she caught me in the midst of one of these literary-induced meltdowns. I realized then that I was a complete and utter marshmallow. Julie didn’t cry over anything. I cried at Kodak commercials. She would finish a book, put it down and move on to do something else, whereas after I closed a cover, I couldn’t even speak, needing to give myself time to process my emotions.
In The Thorn Birds, I felt a weird symbiotic tie to Meggie Cleary, the protagonist. Her life was full of love either lost or denied, and each time she had a new fracture inflicted upon her heart, my own emotions went off the Richter scale. But it was her dogged attachment to Irish Catholic priest Ralph de Bricassart that devastated me the most. I could not fathom that Father Ralph wouldn’t leave his vocation so that he could be with Meggie, instead creating untold pain for them both. Could the author-slash-universe really be that cruel?
The staggering injustice dealt to Meggie in The Thorn Birds frustrated me to such a degree that I walked away from the epic romance genre after that. My idealist notion of ‘happy ever after’ beaten to a pulp, I reached for something that couldn’t trifle so with my emotions: Ordeal, the biography of porn star Linda Lovelace. It didn’t get much more real than that.
What impact did the Thorn Birds book or mini-series have on you when it first came out? What shaped your reading tastes as a child?
Laura Zera has lived and worked in Cameroon, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States. An insatiable traveler, her first book (published as Laura Enridge), Tro-tros and Potholes, chronicles her solo adventures through five countries of West Africa. She’s currently working on a memoir about being raised by a mother with schizophrenia and her work can also be found in Booktrope Publishing’s anthology Write for the Fight: A Collection of Seasonal Essays. Originally from Vancouver, B.C., Laura has called Seattle home since 2004. She keeps in touch with people from around the world through her website.
My guest post When Your Mother is Crazy appeared on Laura’s blog in February 2013.
The images used in this post are for promotional purposes only and comply with fair use guidelines.
What a FUN read. I am a sentimental reader and will cry at the drop of a hat too. It can be rather embarrassing for me at times for anyone who happens by and want to know what’s wrong. When I say it’s a passage in a book, I get a smile or a blank stare.
It’s so nice to know I’m not alone! Thanks, Susan.
The appreciation of Thorn Birds reminds me of Keats’ lines: “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on.” The pain of unrealized desire tops everything but outright loss.
What beautiful words, Albert, and so very true.
I follow Laura on her site and so had to hop over to read this post.
I’ve read all these books except for the biographies and bawled just the same way whilst reading (and later watching the mini-series) the Thorn Birds. I was a perplexing anomalie in my family in that I much preferred books over toys or dolls. I still read voraciously but not as much as I’d like–there’s only so much time in a day and so much competition for it.
So now, I’ll go explore this blog a bit.
Yay, another softy! 🙂 Glad you hopped over, Jagoda. Jeri’s a good one to know! I have the same problem as a grown-up — now books can take me months to finish instead of days.
I remember when that mini series came out. It was surrounded by a huge amount of drama. Juxtapose this drama to how the world of entertainment is now. With the Thornbirds we had drama over a torrid love affair created in fiction. Now we have torrid love affairs created for the sake of drama. The world is a crazy place.
This isn’t one that ever made my reading list. I was always much more interested in adventure, sci fi, and fantasy stories. I grew up with Mack Bolan, Remo Williams, and John Carter. Of course you need to add Conan and Gandalf to this list as well.
Things have flipped in the TV world, haven’t they? But the reality TV stars are such horrible ‘actors.’ 😛
Reading sci-fi and fantasy as a kid — that’s what I’d call true escapism!
I’d like to thank Laura once again for an awesome post and for her ability to make readers laugh. As a child, I too devoured books beyond my years, though mainly due to an ancient librarian who had the audacity to tell me I was picking books too old for my age. That sealed the deal. From then on, I read the thickest books I could find, and undoubtedly became a better reader all because some old biddy told me no.
Jeri, my fellow precocious reader, I’m happy to play in your space and thanks for having me.
OMG! You took me way back with Babar!
Thanks, Reut. Hope Babar brings good memories!
Wonderful post, Laura! I was with you from the moment you
mentioned the crotch on your tights sagging to your knees (which
sounds odd but you know what I mean!). I grew up in a single parent
household and so spent much time with adults. It made sense to me
that I would move from “Sue Barton, Student Nurse” to “The
Thornbirds”, from “Go Ask Alice” to “The Godfather”. In fact the
only book my mom didn’t want me to read was “Lenny” about Lenny
Bruce. So I bought it and hid it. More than the drugs (because that
was so old news in the 70s), I was intrigued by the jazz world. So
it all worked out. :)) I guess we never know what book will catch
our imagination. I’m thankful my mom was open-minded enough or
intrigued enough by my sense of book-wonder that she let me choose
any story from the shelf. P.S. I read The Thornbirds when I was 13
or 14, over one weekend, when I had a terrible flu. I’m sure the
crying helped flush the infection away. :)))
Hey, Jo-Anne! Wow, The Thorn Birds in one weekend, you are hardcore. Funny, there was just one book I had to hide from my mum, too (the Linda Lovelace biography). She was pretty easy about letting me read whatever I wanted as well. There’d be nothing worse than being held back when it came to selecting reading materials, it’d be such a curiosity killer!
Wow. This brought back some memories — and made me smile.
I too was that little kid with the saggy tights working my way
through the children’s and young adults section of the library. The
baddest thing I remember doing as a kid was reading under the
covers with a flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping. I
attended an elementary school our of my district (due to school
overcrowded back when Baby Boomers were entering the public school
system), so I could not easily visit my friends on the weekends.
Hence, my weekend companions were often a stack of books—mostly
non-fiction although I went through the Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys,
and Cherry Ames series. Somewhere along the way, I too met the
Thorn Birds, but I don’t recall crying my eyes out. I think I could
not understand whey Maggie didn’t just tell Father Whatever His
Name was to get lost.
Suzanne, bite your tongue, Meggie and Father Ralph were meant to be!! 🙂 Ah yes, the flashlight under the covers, back when they were full of D-cell batteries and heavy as heck. Kids these days probably have some pretty nifty headlamps for their nocturnal reading. Thanks for sharing your story!
A great post, Laura. You truly have writing talent. I can’t believe how many books you read a month. Geez!
BTW, I love your school picture. Very serious. 🙂
Thanks so much, Denise! I wish I could still read that many that fast, but I think my reading comprehension has declined since then!
Also loved the Thorn Birds and couldn’t understand why Father Ralph didn’t leave the church to be with the woman he loved.
A couple of years ago when I lived in Dubai, my club had dvd’s you could take home for a couple of days. And there was The Thorn Birds, so I had the pleasure of watching it again. Still liked it.
I think I might be due for a re-watch/sobfest. You’ve planted the seed, Catarina.
I confess I have not read The Thorn Birds, though I have read many of the other books you mentioned.
I just finished reading a biography of Jane Austen. Having read biographies of Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Louisa May Alcott, I must say they all led difficult lives. As a child, my favorite book was Harriet the Spy. My friends and I used to carry around those spy notebooks …
Somehow I missed Harriet the Spy but I would’ve liked to have a spy notebook!
I too cry at the drop of a hat and have been known to throw books at walls in a complete melt down.
I enjoyed this post. I also enjoyed the Thorn Birds. Both clicked with me 🙂
Thanks, Becc! You made me laugh and think of the scene in Silver Linings Playbook where Bradley Cooper throw the book and shatters a window.
Laura, just let me say I thought Silver Linings was a much better movie than it was a book. That scene where Bradley Cooper throws the book out the window and breaks it wasn’t even in the book.
Brilliant post! And with a nearly 10 year old daughter of my own, I am thinking I’d better look out! I’m sure your precocious reading habits (Laura and Jeri) are what have turned you into such accomplished writers and storytellers. And Laura, that has to go some way towards explaining your thirst for travel and adventure. Thank you both!
Oh yes, your Laura is just at the age to start unearthing some literary gems, Debbie! Thanks for popping over. 🙂
I LOVED the Thorn Birds, both the book and the movie. I cried at the end like so many people. Not only didn’t the priest (Richard Chamberlain in the movie) not know of his son, then the son died. Almost too much to bear.
It really was almost too much to bear, Jeannette. There hasn’t been anything since that got me like that one!
I laugh, cry, and cheer when I read. Glad I am not the only one. 🙂
Yay, welcome to the club!
I was in my late teens when I read The Thornbirds, and I have to admit that I found Father Ralph’s behaviour selfish and obnoxious–but I was going through a general “irritation with men” phase, though, so that probably influenced my appreciation (or lack thereof). I’ll have to read it again to see if it affects me differently now.
My parents were very permissive regarding my sisters’ and my reading choices. What they read, we read. There were three exceptions, Valley of the Dolls, Flowers in the Attic, and The Collector. My mother said the first two were too trashy and inappropriate, and the third too disturbing, and therefore all were out of bounds. So, of course, I sneaked them out of her bedroom and read them anyway, more to find out what her idea of inappropriate was than anything else. The first I found fascinating, the second silly, and The Collector, well, she was right. I found that book deeply disturbing when I was eleven, and wished I’d listened to her. 🙂
Kern, your comments about Father Ralph made me laugh. I know that when I watched the tv mini-series a few years later, I had a huge crush on Richard Chamberlain, and then was terribly disappointed to learn he didn’t shop in my market! We could have had such a lovely May-December romance, lol!
Love that photo, Ms Bronte. I didn’t read the Thorn Birds till I was an adult, but I was only about 8 when I read Wuthering Heights, and man, that is one scary book! I read my way through the big bookshelf at home, including all the books my much older siblings had to study at high school. I’m still coming to terms with Lord of the Flies. Another one you shouldn’t really read at 8. 😉
Belinda, I didn’t read too many overly scary books when I was in elementary school, but I did see quite a few movies that scarred me for life. Ones like Children of the Corn and Jaws made me afraid of things one never needs fear when living in the Idaho’s mountains.
Jeri, I still remember an episode of the Twilight Zone that I should never have been allowed to watch (obviously a glitch in Parenting quality control, as they never let me watch anything much else–the books could slip under their radar). There was this guy attacking these people and they kept killing him and he kept coming back………….. (need to go and hide now)
And I actually have not read Wuthering Heights, Belinda! I didn’t know it had a ‘scary’ element to it, am intrigued…
I have to admit that The Thorn Birds is responsible for one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I was reading it on an international flight… my first! To say that I was crying would be the understatement of the year! I was doing that hiccup thing and had snot bubbles, too. Sigh…. When the stewardess (yes they were called that back then) came to check on me, I just held up the book. Still, I got that look…the, are you crazy? look. Apparently, she wasn’t a reader! Still…one of my favorites of all time….
Ohhhhhh, Jacqueline, I FEEL for you. Big sympathy. And also laughing a little bit at you for not containing this activity to the privacy of your own home.
I haven’t read the Thorn Birds, or seen the series, but I can def. Relate to becoming v. Emotional as a child over books. Little women and Black Beauty stand out for me as real tear jerkers, and made me upset for ages. I think it’s a real positive when we can be so entranced as a child in a book that we’re genuinely upset by the content. Good post. Now I have to go read the a thorn Birds:-)
I do hope you read it. Given your other reading mentions, I think The Thorn Birds will keep you entirely entranced. And Black Beauty was one of my faves, too!
For some reason, I never got into series books. The book that changed how I felt about reading though was The Wolfs of Willoughby Chase (http://www.amazon.com/The-Wolves-Willoughby-Chase-Chronicles/dp/0440496039).
Interesting, it was first published in 1962 and I don’t ever remember hearing of it when I was a kid. But I love that there was a book that changed you in a big way like that. We must bow to the all-powerful paperback. 🙂
I read The Thornbirds years ago and really liked it. I can’t remember now if I cried or not, but I have been known to cry over books as an adult and a child. I was an avid reader as a child and love to read today. I remember reading Anne of Green Gables aloud to my younger sister. My mother came into our room to see what was wrong because we were both lying on the bed, bawling our eyes out. We were at the part in the book where the owners of Green Gables said they were not going to keep the orphaned Anne. We were only a short way into the book and I knew they’d wind up keeping her (wasn’t that the title of the book?), but it was still so sad.
Donna, I envy how you were able to make it into a family crying affair. Even more meaningful and memorable!
Thank you Laura for the post with your witty writing style! I have long loved books and consumed them growing up almost as much as food 🙂 Still love reading!! Great of Jeri to have you here!
Thank you, Christy. Like food, books are nourishment. I think many of us could not live without them.
I can relate Laura. I too read Ordeal and the book brought me to a new understanding of show business and the affairs of one member of the rat pack. How could Linda do it? Why did Sammy have to be involved? Mr Bojangles never sounded quite the same 🙂 I did love this post Laura and the way you wrote it. My partner cries at commercials to and I often find myself shaking my head and smiling. The world needs more super-sensitivity; balance things out.
Tim, your comment on balance is smack at the heart of Dr. Elaine Aron’s research (and her book The Highly Sensitive Person). In situations of conflict and statehood, long ago it was the advisers to kings, and now it is the advisers to presidents — the introverted, sensitive, spotlight-shunning types — who keep the extroverted leaders from making rash decisions. So that’s at the highest level, but the scenario applies at all levels of society.
I’m glad to hear that elements of the book rattled around in your head long after you read it. I think that’s how any author would want it to be. Thanks for stopping by.
Oh that book, that book!
I read it when I was in my early teens, and even though it’s been twenty years now (heck, that long? I’m old….) I still get random flashes of it apropos of nothing whatsoever. I will happily confess I cried my eyes out and that it has stayed with me ever since. I also confess to never having watched the series, as, after reading the book, I’m not sure that my nerves and emotional well being could survive a second onslaught.
My mum also read it when she was younger, and maintained it was one of the best books she had ever read (which is how I ended up reading it in the first place.)
Willow, your enthusiasm is driving me to go and re-read it, stat!
I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never read The Thorn Birds or season the mini series. I was a big fan of Babar at about age 5 or so. I also worked at a children’s book store (one of the only freestanding Barnes and Nobles just for kids) so a lot of these books bring up memories. I love the photo at the end…very cute.
That must have been such a lovely place to work, Erica. Getting to participate in a child’s discovery of the books that would stay with them for life. And it’s never too late to grab a copy of The Thorn Birds, just make sure you are not wearing mascara.
Wow, you took me down Memory Lane in a big way, Laura. I humbly admit to never having read The Thorn Birds but I did watch the original tv series! The books that really got me kick started with reading where The Boys of Summer, Lord of the Flies and a biggie Where The Red Fern Grows. I really enjoyed reading your post! 🙂
Thanks, Mike. And it’s great that you’ve got books that really turned you on to reading. It’s not important which book it was, only that the magic happened. 🙂
Sadly, I didn’t read much as a child. It wasn’t emphasized in my family and elementary school English was at the time more about grammar and parts of speech than it was about literature. I only became interested in reading once I had a really good English teacher in high school. One of the first things I became interested in was George Orwell. After reading Animal Farm as an assignment I went right to 1984 and then his essays. After that I quickly developed a penchant for getting totally engrossed in massively long novels whenever I was near to final exams or had term papers due.
Well, if you’re going to procrastinate, it’s a good way to do it, Ken! And I love that it was a high school English teacher that sparked reading for you. We often forget how instrumental a good teacher can be in shaping our futures.
Ahh… I tear up often on sad (or happy, too) scenes in books and have to go back and re-read sometimes because the tears blurred the words too much. This happened many times in ‘The Thorn Birds’ and in her first book ‘Tim’ too. (That was the one no-one wanted to know until she became famous… hmm)
What a woman, what a writer. I loved her words, and I loved that she found love late in life when she least expected it, and had many years of happiness with the man beyond her dreams.
I didn’t know that part of her personal story, Christine. I’ll have to look that up, and that is great, because from what I’ve read about her, her father wasn’t very kind.
I can identify with the crying part so well. I don’t even bother to hide it anymore. If I read a sad part in a book (including the Thorn Birds which I read many years ago) I just grab the tissues and let loose. The same with TV. I’ve never read the Ordeal so can’t comment there.
That’s a darn good approach, Lenie. 🙂
I don’t remember this post so I am glad it’s made an appearance again. I love to read and I really get emotionally attached to the characters. I try to read when no one is going to ask me about my facial expressions or tears or anything else that makes its appearance during that private time.
It really is an attachment, isn’t it? And it just goes to show the power of the written word, how we can actually feel the pain and joy of a character in a book. Thanks, Cheryl!
Laura, I love your sense of humor and, Jeri, thank you for hosting Laura’s post! Bleak House had a devastating effect on me, not so much that I would weep while reading, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch a dramatization or reread the book. My heart gets tight with anticipation of the injustice and tragedy that will unfold. I’m also an audiophile … I love listening to audiobooks. There’s nothing like weeping in public while listening to an audiobook on a plane or a bus. Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity did that to me: both narrators were exceptional, and their heartbreak became my own. Like you, when a book moves me, I have to “process” the experience once the book is closed. Sometimes I never recover 😉
Marie Ann, thank you! And oh, I know that heart-tightening feeling so well! That’s a perfect description of it. I’ve not really taken to audiobooks myself — I don’t know that I could handle all the times I need to go back and replay a section (the same way I go back and re-read).
Thanks for re-posting, as I missed this first time around! Laura, your last name should have been Bronte! My early reading experiences were similar to yours except I was probably about 10 when I finished all the books in the school and local library children’s sections and started reading my parents’ books (both prolific readers). I was a young adult by the time The Thorn Birds came out, and was reading as much as ever. I too was glued to the mini-series. I too could not figure out why that priest wouldn’t do the logical thing. Jeri, thanks for hosting Laura and I’m so happy to have discovered this neat section of your blog!!
Cindy, glad you wandered over this way! And as I write this reply, I’m just waiting to get your text and go pick you up at the airport. 😀
The Thorn Birds was one of the first books I’ve ever read & I went WILD.
I wanted the priest to leave the church and MAKE LOVE))!!
It made a great impression on me as a young girl. I do not remember if the writing was good, (was it? ) but, YES, I remember the content STILL.
Oh, And I read ORDEAL, too.
PS. I am listening to Rob Lowe read his book at the moment. There is something quite delicious about him.
Xxx KISS and appreciation for your words from MN.
Okay, I just said in a comment above that I’ve never taken to audiobooks, but maybe I should start with Rob Lowe. 😀
This reminded me of the library visit in 6th grade when I picked out Gone With the Wind because it was the biggest book, with the smallest print, that I could find. Nice to meet a kindred spirit! I’ve never read the Thorn Birds and I’m not sure if I could, after your description! I sobbed through Charlotte’s Web last year, rereading it to my daughter. I’m not sure I could take any more love and loss…
Your comment just reminded me of a writing workshop I was in a few years ago. The instructor talked about reading Little House on the Prairie to his daughters, and he even cried in class, retelling it! Having kids gives a whole other level of opportunity to re-read the classics, though, hey?
I enjoyed reading Laura´s insights on “The Thorn Birds”… My first readings as a girl included brief stories by Hans Christian Andersen, and later on “Little Women” and “Jane Eyre” (adapted versions)
“The Thorn Birds” was on TV here and I remember my mom was a fan!… The tittle of that book have always reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s brief story “The Nightingale and the Rose” which I have always liked!~
Great post!. Thank you very much for sharing, dear JWB!~ All the best to you. Aquileana 😀
Ah, Hans Christian Andersen, he was a beloved one. Thanks for the memories!
Great post, Laura! Thanks for sharing, Jeri. My sister loves The Thorn Birds. I think it’s one of her favorite movies. I liked it, but became frustrated with the fact that Meggie didn’t get the love she wanted. I would have to say Sidney Sheldon shaped my reading tastes. I couldn’t get enough of his books, and refused to read anything else. In time, I branched out to read Victoria Holt, Mary Higgins Clark, and then onward.
P.S. I love the your picture of you, Laura. Very determined. 🙂
I noticed there was a comment earlier from me. This is scary, but I don’t remember posting that comment, only this comment. Just wanted to say something so you don’t think I’m losing it, which I might be losing it since I can’t remember posting the earlier one.
Denise, that’s too funny. The post originally appeared almost two years ago. No worries 😉
Haa! Yes, I’m sure we’ve all been in the same boat at one time or another.
Yesssss, I was a huge Sidney Sheldon fan and also went through all of his books. And “determined” is a nice way of putting it, Denise. 🙂
LOL! Most deftly put together! I have a similar story – when I was a child, my family didn’t have a television, and I read prodigiously. In fact, my parents put a limit on how many books I could read – only three a week. Naturally, I checked out the biggest, fattest books I could find. By the time I was 11, I had gone through all the books in the children’s section of our neighbourhood library, and I started in on, of all things, James Bond. A little juicy for an 11-year old, but my goodness, I ate it up. When The Thornbirds came out, I was a a teenager. I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t sit well with me, and I realized it had to do with being raised Catholic, even though I had no attachments to the faith. It really bothered me that a priest would have an affair. How naive, eh?!
How funny that your parents put a limit on your books. Were you also the palest girl at school? 😀
And see, I wasn’t raised Catholic, and so thought that Ralph should have just abandoned it tout de suite! The fact that he was so conflicted made me want to throttle him back then!
Thanks for sharing a bit of your childhood, Krystyna.
Reading this post has brought back some memories. I remember reading the Babar books as a kid.
Hi Jason, hope they are all fond memories!
I am very emotional person, anything can make me laugh or cry. I cry with characters and laugh with them too. It was fun to read this.
My daughter is fond of Babar, Curious George and she started screaming when saw the picture of the elephant and his family. This post brought back many memories and now I have also a daughter going from same phase of life. Many reads during childhood have long lasting impact on us.
Unfortunately I did not read The Thorn Birds, but I will try to get this for my daughter.
Thank you for a great share.
If that’s your daughter in your avatar photo, she’s very sweet! But maybe wait with The Thorn Birds until she’s (quite a bit) older. It’s full of very adult themes that I probably shouldn’t have read until I was a bit older. 😉
Thanks for your comment, and I wish you many happy days of reading with your daughter.
I am suddenly teleported back to my elementary school library and wondering why I am the only 5-year-old boy not reading “In the Night Kitchen” in the picture book section but instead I’m plowing through “Treasure Island” and “Around the World in 80 Days”. I can feel what the tight looped industrial rug felt like on my elbows as I lay on the floor to read. Thank you for writing a post that brought back such sweet memories.
Oh yes, the flashlight under the covers after bedtime. I learned to sob quietly so that I wouldn’t be discovered! My parents were particular about what I read but I read so voraciously that they didn’t see some of my “too old” books. I wasn’t allowed to read Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde which was in my dad’s study. I read it bit by bit when they weren’t home. I remember that very well and couldn’t figure out what was objectionable.