My Life in Books

This article was originally published on Random Things Through My Letterbox.


I wasn’t a fan of reading as a child. I read the Peter and Jane books and thought “What a load of rubbish – my imagination is far better than that.” The only reason I continued reading was because we had lots of books in our house and strict TV rules. (BBC1 only, and the TV went off after John Craven’s Newsround unless it was Monday or Thursday and Blue Peter was on.)

My older sister was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, so her books shaped my childhood. Both my sister and I were bullied at school, but while she saw the Malory Towers series as escapism – daydreaming of going to boarding school and having lots of amazing friends – I found the books upsetting.

My heart ached for all the characters who weren’t in the inner clique; who were mocked and bullied and had no escape from school when the bell rang. When I mentioned this to my mum, she commented that she thought I was wired up differently. I secretly agreed. It came as no surprise to either of us when I was diagnosed with depression at nine years old.

I started to seek out books with lost or fragmented characters as a way to understand what was going on in my own head.

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