After reading a lot of overheated puffery about your new cook, you know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?I thought of that line last weekend when I watched the original Star Wars trilogy with my son. He had never seen the films and I am geek enough to insist that they be watched in release order, thank you very much. Thus, over two weekends, I watched Star Wars (none of this A New Hope crap), The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi and I started thinking about perspective.
I am part of the Star Wars Generation. That is, life and outlook and play before Star Wars (1977) was different after seeing the film than before it. Entire worlds were created in the minds of young people (and older ones, too). The language of Star Wars pervades the modern vocabulary. I was so hoping that my boy would get to experience Darth Vader’s famous line the correct way: by watching the movie.
Here’s the thing: I’m now forty one, an adult, a writer, a creator. It’s difficult to recapture all the nuances of childhood because my perspective has changed. My adult self gets in the way. With the original trilogy, however, all the main stages of my perspective can be relived. When I watch the first film, my writer self is largely subsumed in my childhood self. I’m still a kid watching it for the first time, still thrilled at the exploits of our heroes and I almost always get those goosebumps when Luke blows up the Death Star. The Empire Strikes Back is the movie that just flat-out great. It was my first sequel but the themes of that show (loyalty, love, courage in defeat) spoke to my adolescent self. Now, as an adult, I can see just how well made and well written it is. Don’t get me started with Return of the Jedi. All the fun I had back in 1983 is largely gone because I can’t get past all the problems I see now that I know better.
Since this is a mystery fiction blog, I would have liked to have used a famous crime story to make this point. Alas, I’m a late comer to the mystery field and I’m still too busy reading this stuff (and everything else) for the first time to bother re-reading anything. But I know a lot of y’all out there have re-read favorite books at different stages of your lives. For those books to which you keep returning, why do you, considering your perspective has changed? For those books that have changed over time and you have stopped re-reading, did you change or has the book changed?