Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009.31: Second Chances

I keep chickening out with some of the Weekly Geek assignments lately, but this one I can handle! We are simply asked to ponder if we've re-read something that we hated the first time around, but loved on the second reading.

The book that comes right to mind is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Somehow, I picked this book for my in-class reading when I was in 8th grade. If I remember right, I ordered it from the book orders because it had some sort of wonderful description that I just couldn't resist.

Then I started reading it....

....for ten minutes every day at the beginning of the class period of 8th grade English.

And I understood not a word of it!

I remember going through that entire book in a huge fog. There was something about an old lady in a wedding dress, with a cake and some cobwebs. And a girl who was quite mean to Pip, who I DID understand was the main character at least. But I had no idea how they all related to each other. I caught NONE of the back story, the mystery, the interconnections. None of it.

However, I read the whole thing, over many months.... ten minutes a day.

Then, a few years ago, I decided that I was probably too young for that book way back when, and that I should probably try it again.

This time around I LOVED it! I couldn't put it down. I thought it had everything a book needed to make it a good one. It was a amazing the difference from the first time around. I felt very sorry for my 8th grade self and all that she missed during that foggy first reading.

But I'm very glad I gave it a second chance, because now it's on the top of my all-time favorites list.


  1. I did the same sort of thing with Catch-22, except that my first read of it was in college. It's always interesting to see how opinions change over time. We accept that we'll grow out of some of the books we enjoyed as kids, but somehow don't accept we may grow INTO books we DIDN'T like then...

  2. Wow, 8th grade is super young for that book. I read it my first year of college, and I think a lot of it still went over my head at that point! I should probably give it a reread at some point.

  3. I had a rather progressive teacher in seventh grade. She had us read Great Expectations then. I think her taking us through the novel helped me to understand it better than I would have on my own. I fell in love with Dickens as a result!

  4. I had a similar experience with Dickens, also involving the 8th grade and Great Expectations. I didn't understand it either, and loved it later! I wonder why they give it to 8th graders?!!!

  5. I think I was in 11th grade when I was "forced" to read this book. Hated it - didn't get it at all. Then I re-read it last year and, like you, loved it. It all finally made sense.

  6. It's the kind of book that requires a little scaffolding first.

  7. Yes, I'm always amazed at teachers who fuss at kids for picking books that are too thin. Leave 'em alone, I say. Let 'em read what they wanna read.

    But, no, some teachers are determined to make kids HATE to read. Sad.



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