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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read an article recently about a dad whose daughter had to read a book for school and it was one of his favorites growing up. He was heartbroken to hear that she hated the book. He decided to re-read it. Reading it as an adult gave him a completely different perspective.

Have you ever gone back to read a book from your childhood and end up feeling different about it?
 

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That happens to me all the time.

When I first read THE CATCHER IN THE RYE as a teen, I thought it was hilarious.  As an adult, I find it extremely sad.  Either way, though, I still think it's a good book.  :)

Julia
 

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Julia444 - I had the same experience with TCITR.  Plus, as a teenaged reader a lot of the language & situations went right past me (my parents didn't swear and there were a lot of 4-letter words I never even heard until I was in college).
 

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I remember thinking in high school that those classics like Gatsby and Catcher and Separate Peace and Crime and Punishment were all very serious and meaningful and important. But now, they all seem thin and irrelevant to me. I can't imagine why people insist they're so "important" anymore.
 

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Your own experience is likely to color what you read, and what you found amusing or even brilliant as a kid, is likely to hold a different kind of importance in your life as an adult. I thought "The Count of Monte Cristo" was the most brilliant epics ever written! But then I was 12 at the time. Also remember that the socio-political environment as well as the popular culture affect your perspective and your choices, in one way or another.

If you are very lucky, you'll find one book that speaks directly to your soul and it will still change in meaning for you as time passes, but it will always be one of your favorites because it rings true.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" is a book I have read in my teens and again decades later and it affected me differently, but it was still a beautiful reading experience.
 

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I really liked Les Miserables in high school (one of the few books we were assigned to read and I actually read). I think I'll read it again to see if I still feel that way.
 

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Julia444 said:
That happens to me all the time.

When I first read THE CATCHER IN THE RYE as a teen, I thought it was hilarious. As an adult, I find it extremely sad. Either way, though, I still think it's a good book. :)

Julia
This is the first book that came to my mind, actually. The first time I read it, I really related to Holden's anger and frustration. The second time, when I was older, I realized that he was just as "phony" as the world he criticized. Still loved the book.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Joseph Robert Lewis said:
I remember thinking in high school that those classics like Gatsby and Catcher and Separate Peace and Crime and Punishment were all very serious and meaningful and important. But now, they all seem thin and irrelevant to me. I can't imagine why people insist they're so "important" anymore.
This is something that has bothered me. High schoool kids are still having to read "the classics" which is all well and good... but there are A LOT of great books being written for teenagers that they'll be more likely to finish & relate to. Kids today are really savvy.
 

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I think this pretty much applies to every book I read as a kid.  Loss of innocence, grown-up situations, real world experience... all of these change our perspectives enough that books don't look the same as they did when we were kids.  Even a few YEARS later, my viewpoint on a book will be entirely different. :)
 

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Ooo... this totally happened to me with Jane Eyre. When I read it in school I thought it was ok but I just could not get over the age difference between Jane and Rochester. The whole dynamic of their relationship was lost to me.

I later reread it as an adult and thoroughly enjoyed it. You need a little life experience under your belt before you understand that book.
 

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Two books that stand out are THE TALISMAN by Stephen King/Peter Straub and THE BAD PLACE by Dean Koontz. I thought they were the bees knees as a kid, couldn't read them enough, but now as an adult: meh. It's sad too because I have such fond memories of when I read TALISMAN but it doesn't hold quite the magic any more that it used to.

I had to read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE for high school and thought it was mildly entertaining but didn't like being forced to read it. Now that it comes free with the Kindle, NOOK etc I got another chance to reread it and thought it was FANTASTIC! Heh, maybe I'm finally growing up. :D
 

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Yes. I hated David Gemmell's "Waylander" when I was a teenager, but I re-read it as an adult, and realized that a.) my teenaged self was a moron, and b.) the book was superb.

Though mostly I've had it happen with computer games - I spent a lot more time gaming than reading as a kid, and didn't start reading for enjoyment until I was fifteen or so. So from time to time I'll fire up some old DOS classic I spent hours playing in grade school, only to realize that it actually sucks.
 

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Kali.Amanda said:
I thought "The Count of Monte Cristo" was the most brilliant epics ever written! But then I was 12 at the time.
Same here. Rereading it aloud to one of my kids made me rethink that evaluation. There are certainly better epics.

The Little Prince -- loved the romanticism of it when we read it in junior high. When I read it as an adult, the bittersweet aspects of it made more of an impression.
 

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I read Animal Farm in High School, and I didn't understand why the chickens confessed to crimes they hadn't committed, when it meant that they would be executed. I didn't understand how torture works, that you can get any kind of confession you want.
 

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I just re-read Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle for the first time in about 30 years. I found it interesting how different it seemed than my distant recollection of it. I think when I first read it, it was so far out there and so different from anything I'd read before, that I was caught up more in the style and the absurdist elements than in what Vonnegut was actually saying. This time through I was much more into what Vonnegut was saying about people and society, and it all seemed much less humorous. I don't mean that in a bad way: the sense of less humor was compensated by the increase in depth of meaning for me.

I suppose the real question is: how much was this difference in perception based on how I have changed, and how much the years have seen novels change (and many imitators of Vonnegut) and cause the style and tone to be less unusual and attention-getting for me?
 

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Anne Maven said:
Happened with Jane Eyre, Atlas Shrugged and Les Miserables. I still enjoyed all three but then realized that I had changed a great deal. Atlas Shrugged was the one that I saw most differently.
I was going to say the same thing about Atlas Shrugged.
 

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My 11th grade English teacher told us that we should read Hamlet once in our teens, again in our 20s, again in our 40s, and at least once before our 70s. It would, he said, be different each time.

I've returned to several books I enjoyed when I was younger, only to read them through writer's eyes. I hate to admit this but I find myself nitpicking grammar and word choice when I ought to just enjoy the tale. :(

Please assure me that I'm not alone in this.
 

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Winnie the Pooh!  Great as a kid - completely different as an adult, but just as great!
 

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Joseph Robert Lewis said:
I remember thinking in high school that those classics like Gatsby and Catcher and Separate Peace and Crime and Punishment were all very serious and meaningful and important. But now, they all seem thin and irrelevant to me. I can't imagine why people insist they're so "important" anymore.
I taught English IV AP and I totally agree with you!
By the way, I like your book covers!
 
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