I’ve always assumed there are some books which one knows psychically.
Well, obviously that’s nonsense, but there are all sorts of books which I don’t remember having explained to me, but which I knew about, down to most of the plot twists. I’m not just talking boy-gets-girl, I’m talking Jane-Eyre-Madwoman-in-Attic. It would never have occurred to me to put a *SPOILER* warning in front of that, as I might if I were revealing climactic moments of more obscure literature. Sorry if I’ve spoilt the novel for you… I rather assume that most of my readership know about old Bertha, even if they haven’t waded through Gilbert & Gubar. I didn’t read Jane Eyre until I was 17 or thereabouts – but I knew the whole plot without, as far as I’m aware, having heard or seen any adaptations. So it was fun, but it wasn’t surprising.
Writing yesterday about the Queen’s (fictitious) introduction to literature made me think about my friend Mel. She is a very, very dear friend, and hopefully won’t mind me writing about her (!) Though a bright lass, she’s not as book-obsessed as I am, and some of the classics are still unread for her. That makes it sound like I’ve read the lot, which is incredibly far from being the case, but Mel still had The Big Three to read. The Big Three are not books I consider to be the best in the world, nor to have a huge amount in common, it’s just I’ve never met anyone who liked one of them without loving the others too. What are they, you ask? Jane Eyre, Rebecca and I Capture the Castle. She’s now done all three, and loved them – but the reason I write about it is because she didn’t know what would happen next! I had great fun hearing updates on Jane Eyre, with surmises and surprises along the way – what would be in the attic? A deformed son? And they were getting married but half the book seemed to be left – what could go wrong?? What a treat it must be to have a completely fresh introduction to such a classic.
So, any books you’ve done this with? Shocked to learn that Elizabeth gets over her prejudice? Astounded that Scrooge turned out not too bad? The nearest I’ve got is with Rebecca – I knew most of the plot beforehand, but not one important twist. My biggest gasp-out-loud moment came in To The Lighthouse, but I think a fair percentage of you may not have read TTL yet. YET, I say…
Oh, and as an aside – do you, or anyone you know, break my Big Three declaration?!