Have you ever been in that situation where you have books that you love and read over and over again, and then a few years later you read them again, and they are just not quite as good as you remember it? It’s a bit of a bummer isn’t it?
I used to read a lot when I was younger so there are a few books that are like this for me. First of all the typical teenage books – Sweet Valley and the Babysitters club (I think I had about 40 of them) which upon reading them as an adult I discovered they are actually really badly written, and half of the book is just repeating the same introduction over and over again. Nevertheless I still take some time whenever I am home to skim through some of these books, just for the sake of reminiscing.
Then there is the other kind of disappointment, the one where you read a book thinking it will be amazing and it just doesn’t live up to expectation. For example, I read Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, because my friend lent it to me and promised me that it was amazing and the twist at the end would ”blow my mind!!!” Now, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read it, but I thought it was fairly common knowledge about the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character(s) so I thought it must be something else that is happening, and was waiting for it throughout the whole book, and when it turned out “the twist” was what I knew all along, it was a little bit of a let-down. That is not the books fault though, but my own!
Another one of my favourite books when I was a kid was Robinson Crusoe – I absolutely loved reading about him being stranded on a deserted island and how he managed to survive, I must have read that about 20-25 times between being 9 and 12. A few years later I saw Robinson Crusoe in the school library and decided to re-read it, and that, ladies and gentlemen is how I got familiar of the notion of abridged books, because this Robinson Crusoe was a completely different story, focusing all on how he travelled to all these colonies before he got stranded (boring) and very little on the actual island stay. A very different reading experience and not what I had expected, I was so disappointed! Come to think of it I don’t know if I actually read two different abridged versions of the same book, or in fact two completely different books with the same name. Maybe I need to re-read Robinson Crusoe this year and make sure it’s the unabridged version.
Finally, I can’t write about this without mentioning one of my possibly most traumatic reading mistakes! Yes it was traumatic, yet quite funny at the same time. – When we were younger and had to stay home from school because we were ill or whatnot, my mum had a cupboard where she kept emergency entertainment and gifts – most of the times these were books.
So one day I was at home, I think with Scarlet fever and my mum brought me a new book to read, – Little Women. It was a Swedish translation and my mum hadn’t read this particular one, but she knew the story so she knew it was a good fit for me. Well, I loved the book! I read it over and over and over again, couldn’t get enough of it. It was my happy place for a few years. And so the story would have ended here, except one day I went to see the new movie that came out, and here is where I discovered the fatal mistake. The book my mum had given me was also an abridged version, Even worse, it appeared to be part one of 2 or something like that, except it wasn’t marked anywhere, so I have no idea what the publishers had decided, but my book ended on a very happy note – Beth had been ill, but had powered through, Dad had finally come home from the war and it was Christmas! Everyone is happy. The end. I guess they couldn’t be bothered translating anymore and decided to leave it there?
Well, as you can imagine I was very confused when halfway through the film they had already reached the end of “my story” and there was still about an hour to go! Alarm bells were ringing when Beth got sick again.. oh my goodness! I felt like Phoebe in Friends when she found out about Bambi! Mind you, I do quite fancy reading the complete edition of Little Women now, it has just taken me about 15 years to get to this point! Lol
Have you had any reading experiences like this, re-read any favourites that turned out not to be so good after all? Or any books that you had way too high expectations on?