Monday, 19 January 2015

What Book has Saved Your Life?

Today's The Guardian Childrens' Books is asking authors and teenagers to share the books that saved their lives for Blue Monday #Gdnbluemonday. I tweeted a quick reply - my choice being instantaneous - but it got me thinking about how a book can do that. Save your life.

We talk about the vital importance of reading, of libraries, and we know reading is absolutely vital for literacy (of course), but also for economics, for emotional and physical well-being, and so on, yet sometimes it hits home, you feel it, and you remember that reading really can save your life.

Here's why my choice is Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce.

As a child, Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce was the first book I'd ever read which gave me a very real escape into another world: the loneliness of both Tom and Hatty, the sense that neither home nor adults were a safe or trustworthy place for either of them; the deep need for a place they were free to be themselves in, and where they could find true friendship – to the extent that time and reality itself could somehow be changed by desire, by love - were not things I could articulate at the time I first read it. But that book offered me a deep and meaningful escape into what felt on a subliminal level to be a very real and accessible place where I felt safe, where new possibilities existed, where time and space and reality could change. This book saved my life.

I continued to read it right through my teens too, and its impact on my early life not only directly influenced my lifelong avid reading but led into my urge to write too.

Which book saved your life?

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