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Monday, May 29, 2006

Its only made up!

I have just been reviewing all the harm done to me by books and films.

The trouble started very young when I read way too much. This is because I was crap at doing cartwheels and (being tall & passive) always had to be Daddy in games of Mummies and Daddies, a really rubbish role that involved coming in at the end and saying "I'm back from work, what's for tea?". Come to think of it, it was even worse when we played with the boys, because ALL of us girls had to be Indian Squaws, in which we did nothing at all except make moccasins in our teepees while the boys rode around on their horses and shot each other. The Sixties, eh? People talk about them like they were fun.

So it was more rewarding to sit on the kerb and read every single book in the junior section of the village library.

Whenever I read a book with a spunky hero/heroine, I would be on the lookout for a key piece of information: how old is this person? I would hope very hard that they were older than me, but I was gutted if they were younger. "Awww NO" I would inwardly wail "They are younger than me, and still they read all the clues correctly (The Famous Five)/managed to swim across a river in spate (forget the name)/told Tweedledee exactly what they thought (Alice in Wonderland)/owned up even though they knew they would get into trouble (Just William)/ won the heart of the grumpy old bastard (Heidi)/looked on the bright side even though they had been seriously injured (PollyAnna)/ outwitted a stupid fox (Polly)/died their hair and told off the neighbours (Anne of Green Gables)"

Every classic brought fresh evidence of my inadequacy. I knew that if I was faced with any one of these difficulties I would either a) cry b)wet myself c)fail to comprehend or d)wimp out. Those courageous smart book children didn't inspire me, they oppressed me. I knew of course that these stories were made up, but I did believe that they were based on what real people were like. I worried that the other real children in my life, at school and in the street, had the potential to behave like the Book Children, while I just couldn't cut it.

They still haunt me, Alice and Heidi and Anne and PollyAnna .. particularly PollyAnna, the chirpy bitch. I am still cowering under Julian's fierce gaze "Oh for Goodness sake! You silly girl!"

Of course, it still goes on today. Look at that Harry Potter. Now, as parents, we can look at our children and know that, darling and precious as they are, there is not a single one amongst them who could stand tall and look Voldemort in the eye. Do your kids a favour and let them know not to worry. Its all made up. Run from trouble and snuggle up with the cowards, the idiots and the whingers. Come and join us, the human race.


At 11:43 am, Blogger Kate said...

Films are no better - look at (Inter)National Velvet, some tiny wee thing wins the Grand National at an age when most kids struggle to stay upright on a seaside donkey.

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