Wednesday, December 15, 2010
When I was about 12 I read Katherine Paterson's Jacob Have I Loved. I can't even tell you how impacting that book was for me. I read it so many times the cover is coming off and the pages are worn and dog-eared. I'm not sure if I could pin-point why I loved the book so much.... the fact that it was about two sisters, maybe, like me and my own sister, or the struggle of feeling plain, or just of growing up. Whatever it was, I loved that book.
There is a scene in it where one of the singers sings a song in a Christmas show. This is how the main character describes it:
"Mr. Rice's hands went down, and from the center of the back row Caroline's voice came suddenly like a single beam of light across the darkness.
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
Why Jesus the Savior did come for to die
For poor on'ry people like you and like I
I wonder and I wander out under the sky.
It was a lonely, lonely sound, but so clear, so beautiful that I tightened my arms against my sides to keep from shaking, perhaps shattering...
When we left the gymnasium, the stars were so bright, they pulled me up into the sky like powerful magnets. I walked, my head back, my own nearly flat chest pressed up against the bosom of heaven, dizzied by the winking brilliance of the night. 'I wonder as I wander...'"
Since reading that book, the Christmas hymn I Wonder as I Wander has never been the same. There is a beautiful melancholy to it I didn't feel before, and never do I hear it without visualizing a lonely, sad girl wandering under a black sky bright with stars, looking up.
Books are like that. They worm their way into your lives in ways you sometimes don't even notice.
I wonder....about you. Can you remember reading something specific in a book that's changed the way you see something in real life?