When I was about eleven, I read a book that told me that teenagers and adults don’t have time for reading. It recommended that I read as much as I could before I hit thirteen or else I will miss out on all of the thousands of good books there are in the world.
At least, that’s how eleven-year-old me understood it.
I took this sad fact of life very seriously. I had only two years left of my literate life, so I proceeded to read at least three books a week. If I read fewer than that, I was letting my future self down.
I went on reading like this after I turned thirteen. Then I turned fourteen with still no change. I read and read and read all through my teens. I decided that I must be one of those unique human beings who would keep my reading abilities through adulthood. I found some sort of fountain of youth that would keep me eleven forever. Eleven is certainly not the worst age to always be. You’re old enough that desperate parents will pay you to watch their kids, but you’re too young for puberty.
But alack. My fountain of youth runs dry.
At around eighteen my devouring of books slowed way down. I didn’t have as much time to read, but more than that I was way too tired to read. After all the teenager stuff I had to do, my brain couldn’t take anymore work.
I really love to read. It makes me very sad that I can’t read as much. I still get tall stacks of books at the library feeling hopeful and certain that I will read them, but they stay in the same stack in my room until it’s time to return them all untouched. Poor books. I feel sorry for them.
But the story does not end there.
I fell in love with a book like I hadn’t since my youth. We met through a mutual acquaintance: Alice in Wonderland.
While I love the Alice books, it was the Tim Burton movie that brought us together. I am really excited for the new Through the Looking Glass movie, and I wanted something to watch, or read, while I waited.
Doesn’t it look exciting??
I Googled “books that are like Alice in Wonderland.” According to various sites, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman was a book with an Alice in Wonderland feel but darker.
And thus, our love story began.
Neverwhere is a combination of Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, and fairy tales in general, but it did not seem like a fairy tale itself. It was weird, quirky, confusing, and half of story was never explained. It was everything I loved about Lewis Carroll’s books.
Unlike the original stories, the main character was amazing and believable. I have not felt such a strong connection to a literary person in such a long time.
I wanted to go back and read the book again once I finished, but I’m saving it for when I go back to my teenage ways and am tired of reading.
For now I am doing something I have never done before. I read all the way to the end of one book before I start a new one. It’s weird. I probably do it because I am adult and mature and now I know the most efficient way to read.
The moral of this story is don’t lose hope. The joys and true loves of youth don’t fade, they gradually change and grow.
Just kidding there isn’t a moral. I just wanted to talk about Neverwhere. Now go read it.