And another pair of books from my Month of Rereading

Mary O’Hara – “My Friend Flicka”

(1980s)

A comforting reread of an old pair of Green Dragon volumes I’ve had since I was a child (I have “Thunderhead” and “Green Grass of Wyoming” in slightly more modern though equally well-loved editions; this one is from the 1960s, judging by the date by which you have to send in your “Win a Pony” competition entries in). Anyway, I say it’s a comforting read, even though the themes and descriptions of uncomfortable family life, ‘loco’ horses, farm life in general, illness and death are not particularly cosy!

The story of a dreamy boy longing for his own colt from the crop raised on his parents’ farm is a traditional pony story (wants pony … struggles to get pony … gets pony … struggles to tame pony … crisis … ) but with a boy as the main character and set in the open wilds of Wyoming. It’s oh-so-familiar to me as a beloved childhood favourite, although when I last read it, I was of Ken and Howard’s generation, whereas now I am the age of their parents! But this gave an extra dimension to my read, as I enjoyed the portrayal of Nell and Rob’s marriage and relationship, although I was somewhat surprised to read this scene between them, which I find rather beautiful, but which I do NOT recall from my childhood and teenage readings! It comes amid worries about a mountain lion which might be haunting the creek.

  Always at night her fatigue was a positive pressing thing. She could feel it all through her, a heavy, sweet aching. And yielding to it was like sinking into a sucking depth.

Her thoughts began to scatter into grotesque formations like pieces of broken glass. She felt Rob’s cheek on her hair. He was kissing her softly, all over her cheek and temple and down to the corner of her mouth.

He thinks I’m asleep, she thought, and breathed more evenly and deeply, her eyes closed. So – dead – tired – the deep place drawing her down into unconsciousness – Rob getting her all into his arms and the curve of his body – something moving in the thick foliage of the trees over Deercreek – a branch stirring gently – shadows – wind rushing through with a sound –

And that competition: oh, these were more innocent times. I wonder if anyone DID win the pony!

Charlotte Bronte – “Jane Eyre”

(pre-1989 as covered in sticky backed plastic)

Another book as familiar to me as the back of my hand and still, thankfully, as utterly marvellous as I wanted it to be. I haven’t read it for over a decade, but my reactions to it were not much different from last time. I had forgotten, however, how sweet and romantic the middle section of the book is, an oasis amid the gothic horror. No wonder I react so strongly when they try to do a version on the telly and Mr Rochester is all wrong yet again!

It was like revisiting an old friend. Dear Jane, dear Helen, dear Mrs Fairfax, St John Rivers’ dreadful ego … At one point there was an amusing exchange:

Me – Oh no, I’m going to get to the horrifying bit just before bedtime. But I have the terrifying bit to go first. Ooh noo!

Matthew – How can it be terrifying when you’ve read it a million times before?

Me – Because it’s so bl**dy well written, dear!

This is what the month of rereading is all about: having time off from the treadmill of new books to wallow in an old favourite.

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Next up: Larry McMurtry and I think maybe a more recently read book, too. I’m not sure if I will read the other two Mary O’Haras, as I would like to get through “Northanger Abbey”, too … I am reading two new books, as well – “How to Watch the Olympics” has to be read before the Opening Ceremony, and I’ve just been sent a lovely looking new pony book by Orion Publishing, so look out for those reviews soon!

How’s your Month of Rereading going? Ali has posted a great half way through review