My parents insisted that I have plenty of books growing up. I had several shelves, and I enjoyed taking care of them—rearranging them by genre and title, or even size. I read and re-read them, appreciating every word. Each book that I added to those shelves was an exciting new friend. Graduating from children’s books to novels, and so on, I just loved to read. There were also old school books that had been given to me, so that I could properly play school. That was fun for me. Yes.
When I see the shelfies on Tumblr. I get pretty nostalgic. Those warm-fuzzies aren’t the same as they used to be. Writing books takes you down a different path, and there isn’t a lot of time to read for pure pleasure. If I read books, I’m very selective now. Often they are in the line of research. Reading is now for professional development, and despite enjoying it, the vibe has definitely changed.
Re-reading a book also doesn’t happen anymore (unless you count the Golden Books I read to my daughter). There simply is no time to go back over a book, unless I absolutely must for research. With all the books out there to devour, each one that I pick up for another go around takes away from the time I have for something new.
Back on those childhood book shelves, there was one book that stood out from among the rest: Stuart Little by E.B. White. My copy had the cover that you see here, and was mint green. I read the book several times after worrying it would be completely boring or too hard to read (I was really little, and this was probably my first novel). I absolutely adored it. First of all, you should know that I have an affinity for rodents (perhaps, this book made me that way, or maybe Disney). To read a book where a mouse was the star, and beloved child of a fantastic family, that was just bonus.
I have not returned to Stuart Little since I was a preteen. When the film came out in 1999, I was reminded of my old friend. I looked forward to it, telling myself that the trailers were likely no indication of how good or bad it would be. In the past, beloved children’s stories adapted to the screen turned out pretty alright. The Witches (1990) comes to mind. However, the film was utter crap. No offense to the majority of the crew who worked on it, or the actors. I blame the director and the writer. Minkoff and Shyamalan created a travesty where none needed to exist. I guess it did well enough to warrant a sequel. It’s beyond me how that is the case, but regardless, the bad film killed any desire to return to the book. Sure, I did give the movie a chance, but it was crazy formulaic and poorly cartoonish. It’s like they forget that children can have taste.
Honestly, whenever I think of this book, it’s now dogged by that film, and I simply cannot separate the pair. It’s sad that the images of the film have usurped the beautiful memories I had created through White’s book. For that pale comparison to erase what my brain had created—I cannot go back now. I’m afraid that if I do, all I will see is that movie instead of the book.
Like many things in life, time and events can change our perception of a thing. It’s really too bad that we cannot maintain a separation between the sacred and that which attempts to destroy it. I sincerely hope that other viewers/readers have not had this same experience, because that book deserves to be read repeatedly, and that film deserves more respect than I am giving it because of that book.