I Have Always Depended on the Kindness of Books

Books have always made me happy. When I was a child, books were my solace and my refuge. I read and reread the Trixie Belden mysteries. I wanted to be Trixie. I wanted her brothers and her friends. Her poor but loving parents. Alcohol was never an issue in Trixie’s world.

Pippi Longstocking’s world was another I visited often. Such freedom! She lived the way she wanted to live, answered to no one. With her pirate treasure, she could have anything she wanted. And boy, could she ever take care of herself! No one ever bullied her!

Anne of Green Gables was the character I identified with the most. She was adopted, like me. She was teased for how she looked, like me. Anne taught me that there was an end to the torment. She taught me that faith and hard work were the cure for most things. I adored Anne. I went by Ann for a while because there were simply too many Mary Ann’s in my fourth grade class. It was better than being numbered like the Davids were. After meeting Anne Shirley for the first time, I started tacking an “e” on the back of my name. My mother was not amused.

There were so many worlds I escaped to because of books. I lived in the Swiss Alps for awhile with Heidi and Peter the goatherd. I lived on the Prairie, too. With Caddy Woodlawn and the Ingalls family.

Books were, and still are, my refuge. When life gets too horrible, there’s always The Busted Flush where I can go stay with Travis McGee for awhile. I hang out with the Sacketts, sometimes, too, escaping to the past. Or I’ll go to Mars with Valentine Michael Smith or to the moon with the Professor and Wyoming Knott. I can fight zombies and love vampires. I can don my cloak of invisibility and go wherever I’d like.

These days, I often travel with Jack Reacher and right wrongs along the way. I help Lucas Davenport solve crimes, and Virgil Flowers never seems to mind my crushing on him.

The thing is, I don’t have to stay HERE! Not 24/7 anyway. I can go explore the unknown and the known with old friends who have always had my back.


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