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Making up for a misspent youth

Submitted by on Thursday, 25 March 2010 2 Comments

It started a few months ago with just one “for the kids” – but, then, isn’t that what they all say.

Three weeks later, I went back for me but I was careful to obscure them deep inside a tote bag – the stealth reminded me of my teetotaler mother leaving the liquor store after her once-a-year trip to buy brandy for the fruitcake.

Before I knew it, I was up half the night feeding my addiction. Until yesterday, though, I was too embarrassed to admit it. It wasn’t until I saw a mom at karate class poring over a well-worn volume of Nancy Drew that I decided to come clean.

My name is Debra, and I’m aliterate.

No, I didn’t mean “illiterate.” I could read quite well at an early age. I simply chose to waste those skills on garbage – I was devouring Perry Mason paperbacks by third grade. Curiously, romances were banned until I was close to high school, at which point I’d already read about hundreds of murders. Somehow I managed to sneak Jim Bouton’s randy “Ball Four” past the censor.  I’ll have to explain to my mom someday exactly what the book is about. She might need a nip of the fruitcake brandy to recover.

As far as the classics, I loved the “Little Women” series, and I vaguely recall reading a couple of Heidi books. There was the mandatory Shakespeare in high school, but that’s it. I shamelessly Cliffs Noted my way through college humanities, and the one English literature class I took was called “The Mystery and Detective Novel.” I managed to work Perry Mason into my final paper.

After college, I actually learned to enjoy Shakespeare, in part because the hunky actor I was dating inspired me to read “Hamlet” when he landed the title role with a touring company. Otherwise, I buried myself in my little John le Carre-Robert Ludlum-Tom Clancy world and refused to come out.

Until this winter, when the guys had hit the heights of their pirate phase and I decided to check out “Treasure Island.” I eagerly opened the cover, and Big Guy’s ears quickly glazed over. “What language is that you’re reading?” he asked. “Is that the Spanish? I don’t understand it.”

I put it aside, but desperate and restless one night after I’d finished catching up on 20 years of Jason Bourne I’d managed to miss, I picked it up again. I was riveted.

The next time we went to the library, I found myself in the young adult section. I picked up “Kidnapped” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Both kept me up far past my self-imposed deadline and caused the guys to complain that I make them go to bed so I can sit up half the night.

True enough, and I don’t look for that to end anytime soon. There’s still “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Great Gatsby,” “The Grapes of Wrath” and who knows how many others.

I have plenty of time – there’s not another Bourne book coming out until this summer.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • MtnMom said:

    After becoming addicted to the three Bourne movies that have come out, my teen said the books are better. The classics will have to wait. I have many years of Bourne to catch up on, too. If the books are better than the movies, I expect I will be occupied for sometime to come!

  • Debra said:

    Oh, the books are FAR better. Even the guy who took over after Ludlum died is good. I was expecting the sequels to read like “Bourne Loser,” but I was pleasantly surprised. And, yes, you’ll be occupied for at least a few months. There are seven or eight of the books. You have to make sure you read them in order, too.