Ah, the classics. More commonly known as the books you were forced to read for school assignments. Some I enjoyed. Some I did not. Some, I’m not even sure why they were assigned to that particular class. Here are my thoughts on some of my school assigned books, from eighth grade to senior year in high school:
Eighth Grade: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD I loved this book. It’s always bummed me out that Harper Lee never wrote anything else. Despite being only thirteen when I read it, I understood it and I think most of my classmates did, too. It’s so smoothly written that you can just fall in while reading it and absorb everything about it.
Ninth Grade: A SEPARATE PEACE As I once stated, I didn’t enjoy this book. It seemed like a bunch of teenage poor-me narcissism. It didn’t catch my interest, nor most of the rest of the class. Honestly, I think part of the problem was assigning it to a Freshman English class. We were too young to have the patience to cut through the crap and look for deeper meaning. If given the chance to read it again, I wouldn’t. Bad association, maybe.
Tenth Grade: THE SCARLET LETTER This was one of the ones that I loved, but most of the rest of the class didn’t. Again, it was a bit advanced, although I think as sophomores, we should have been able to understand it. The problem was that it’s a book you have to plod through, being low on action and high on characters and description. Still, it’s one of the ones that remains vivid in my mind. It’s been ten years since I’ve read it and I can still picture the scene of Hester Prynne sitting with Dimmesdale in the woods.
Eleventh Grade: GREAT EXPECTATIONS Another one I didn’t enjoy that much. I’m just not a fan of the Dickensian writing style and honestly, I felt little connection to the main character. Pip just felt like a pawn through the whole thing (which I guess he was), that his life was for others to dictate and the few times he tried to change things (namely, being with Estella) he was too powerless to do anything. It just didn’t resonate with me I guess, but reading it was an interesting experience. I think it should definitely be kept in school curriculums.
Twelfth Grad: A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY How did I feel about this book? Let me tell you a story: when I was in college, I was talking to my mom when she mentioned how she was reading the book Simon Birch was based off of. Remembering my experience in high school, I screamed and told her to burn the copy she had and any others she found. So yeah, I’m not a fan and probably can’t be unbiased about this book. I just didn’t enjoy it, although I know a few people who did. Me, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, ever, and don’t think it was beneficial to my education. It was slow, stodgy, and so jam-packed with in-your-face symbolism that I thought my brain was going to melt trying to keep track of it all.
Okay, so that’s my take on the educational classics. How did you feel about them? Or the books that you had to read for high school/college? Am I absolutely unforgivable for not liking some?