Children’s books from Gen X
Or, why I am weird
We just made some new bookshelves. During this exercise, I discovered some books from my childhood. No wonder I write really dark stuff, including young adult fiction which doesn’t really fit safe categories.
The Owl Service, by Alan Garner
This freaked me out so much. Was the decoration on the plates and bowls owls or flowers? What was that Welsh myth? And how about the way the scratches appeared on Alison’s arms?
I can’t find Weirdstone of Brisingamen, which I also liked, because it featured Alderley Edge. When I lived in England we weren’t too far from Alderley Edge. I always hoped to see the Wizard. I never did.
Watership Down, by Richard Adams
Oh my goodness, rabbits in some kind of weird socialist hell. IT WAS NOT CUTE AT ALL. Did anyone else watch the movie at Primary School? And dissolve into tears when the Black Rabbit of Death came along? Okay, maybe that was just me. I cry easily, all right?
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
A compelling novel about grief and chance. Jess chooses to go on an excursion to the Museum and then avoids the flooded river and the tragic consequences. This did not help my fear of every single action having unintended consequences.
The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald
I honestly don’t know how to explain this one. The princess. The strange goblins under the mountain. Curdie the miner-boy. The grandmother and the roses. Lootie the nurse. Indescribable.
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
I loved this when I had to read it for school. It’s only when I became an adult that I realised how odd it was that Charles Wallace and Meg’s father was enslaved by a giant pulsating brain named IT. Also, tesseracts.
The Silver Crown, by Robert O’Brien
Ellen’s whole family is killed by page 5 of the story. I am not spoiling anything by revealing this. Also, weird mind-control, luring trucks off the road, and kidnap.
I can’t currently find: Z for Zachariah, also by Robert O’Brien [Nuclear holocaust, only Ann and creepy Mr Loomis survive] or My Side of the Mountain [boy survives plane crash when everyone else dies, has to live on his own] or The Chocolate War [weird descent of Catholic school into a mob, with strange sexual overtones}
What would you add to the creepy Gen X book collection?
What Katy Did is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.