This is the first Nancy Drew book I ever read. It was handed to me by my babysitter one hot summer day when I was eight or nine. I was instantly hooked and, luckily, she had the whole series so I spent most of that hot summer reading my way through (in order, or course). I begged my parents to buy them for me so I could read them all over again. These are the only books I've kept for my own daughter. I think that was the summer that made me a reader!
I am a huge fan of Allende's writing ... her prose is magnificent, but this one was different for me. It is the story of her adult daughter's untimely illness and ultimate death. It is funny and touching and mystical. I will never forget reading late into the night with my eyes so full of tears that I could barely see the page, but I had to keep going. It wasn't just Paula's death, but the eloquence of the writing and the eternal bond between mother and daughter. This book makes me appreciate my daughter in ways I hadn't before I read it.
I read this book probably fifteen years ago near the start of my teaching career. It energized my passion to teach as well as my passion to be a lifelong learner. Kidder also opened my heart and helped me interact with children and their families in a different way.
When I was in Junior High, I had a pair of English teachers who used a point system to track our monthly reading assignment. Books were assigned point values, and to earn a certain grade you had to read books based on the points. Well ... I digress ... this book was part of that library, and I picked it because (believe it of not) it was the right number of points. I remember being shocked and outraged by this account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It sparked a couple of things in me ... first, I couldn't look at the world in quite the same way and, second, I learned that my father was stationed in Korea at that point of WWII and would have been part of the Japanese invasion force. I don't think I would ever have heard that story if I hadn't been reading this book.
This choice is for a number of reasons, but one is that I truly enjoy mysteries of any kind. It probably goes back to my Nancy Drew days. But, more importantly, the author is a friend and reminds me that people are not destined for only one thing in life, but that we are more complex and play a multitude of roles.
I'd be curious what anyone else would select. Happy reading!