I always think about this when I recall the books I enjoyed when I was younger. Two such books I’ve experienced this with are:
* Stranger in a Strange Land
* A Wrinkle in Time
For me, I am not now still in thrall with Heinlein’s Stranger. I tried to re-read it a couple of years ago and the language did not seem as fresh. The characters felt one-dimensional. Yet, when in my late teens and 20’s this book was my manna. I patterned my behavior, in some ways, on this book. The idea of being an objective observer and reporting only what was physically recorded by the senses was extremely important and prudent. Now, while I understand the importance of this, one must make educated assumptions on the pieces that may not be visible yet are salient in the matter.
L’Engle’s Wrinkle is still a book that I can read from cover to cover even now (just re-read the entire series last year). However, the extreme identification and emotional pull are not at the same level. I am older now and the power of love to save and help others is well developed within me (I’m a mother now…) and it’s not revelatory any longer. It just reminds me further that once you’ve matured you can’t go back home.
The experiences one has at various points in their lives are bound to be different when you have more life experiences to base your perceptions upon. Once you’ve traveled the world, or gone off to college, or had your first job (or two, or five…), things don’t affect you the same way as they did previously.
Now I ask you, dear reader, which book(s) have you read that upon re-reading you’ve had a change in your original experience of the book(s)?