Only to Have a Book Convince You to Try Again?
I was born a romantic girl and a precocious reader. The end result being that by age five, I had already had one drama-fueled relationship that ended in a slap on the kindergarten playground.
Yeah, a slap. Somehow even at five I knew that was the go-to response when wronged by one’s man, even if that man stood less than four feet tall. (My teacher must have agreed for I do not recall my parents being called.)
The abrupt end to that romance was also a glimpse of what lay ahead, and it was the first time I thought seriously about giving up on love. (I credit Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault with helping me give love another chance in the first grade.)
It was a cycle destined to be repeated (albeit minus the theatrics) for most of my life. I would fall in love. Love might bloom or prove unrequited . . . but either way the love always ended no matter how promising it had begun. In the aftermath, I would vow to find my joy in study or craft or the written word, only to have the latter more often than naught coax me out into the dating game again.
- After a bad breakup with a golden boy, Jane Eyre’s dark Rochester convinced me that I had been looking for love in all the wrong places. Brooding was what the literary doctor ordered.
- In the aftermath of going steady with a nice get-along-fella, Anne of Green Gables’s competitive Gilbert Blythe prompted me to go in search of a fellow who could compete with me in the classroom and on the tennis court.
- And my days of being enamored with cute boys came to an abrupt end thanks to Little Women, and Jo’s falling in love with the professor. Never again would a handsome face turn my head; I would save myself for an earnest smart and kind fellow who could make me laugh.
In the end, books gave me the courage to return to love over and over and over again, but they could not dictate the man who would make me say, I do.
The heart wants what the heart wants.
And that may be the reality of the matter. I may have thought this book or that movie had given me a reason to give love another chance, when, in fact, it might just have been my heart, doing what a heart does.
So have you ever been ready to say enough with love, only to have a great novel convince you to give it another chance? If so, what book?