Thursday, March 20, 2008

How Solzhenitsyn ruined my childhood

The stuffed animals of my best friends and I. From left to right, top to bottom. Dina's Lammy, Meg's Michael, Grace's Daisy and My Puffalump

When I was little my Dad used to read me bedtime stories. But he didn't read me Dr. Seuss. My Dad read me articles from The Atlantic Monthly or The New Republic. But his favorite thing to read to me was One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Like... LOL. Who reads that to their five year old? My friends were learning about how Jack and Jill went up a hill and every night I went to sleep with images of prison labor camps and barbed wire and starving Russians in my head. Is it any wonder I'm such a fuckup?

I wonder how much the books we read as a child impact us. Maybe Solzhenitsyn had something to do with my bizarrely dark and uncharacteristically mature obsession with the Holocaust from grades 3-6. I didn't like a book unless it moved me to tears with its horror. I'm still kind of like that.

Sure I liked The Babysitter's Club and Cam Jansen, and Horton Hears a Who was cute and all, but I gravitated more towards the disturbing parallelism of The Lorax, which all but damned anti-conservationists to a fiery hell of no trees and smoggy air. Poor Lorax. He went to heaven by the seat of his pants. :(

So I'm going to go ahead and blame my depressingly shortened childhood on Solzhenitsyn and his nightmare-inducing Denisovich. If my Dad had read me Goodnight Moon instead I may have turned out quite differently. Um, or maybe not.


1 comment:

Marshall said...

CAM JANSEN VS. HITLER would be fantastic. She'd get on his case in no time.