On Writing a Review of Borstal Boy
What can I say about this one? I finished it over a month ago and am only just getting around to writing the review. That’s a failure on my part that has nothing to do with the book itself and everything to do with the fact that sometimes, life just wears you down.
But that’s ok. It happens. I really see my reading of this list not as some task to be completed or a push towards some arbitrary number, but as a lifetime journey. And that means, well, it’s going to be affected by life.
The reading experience doesn’t exist in a vacuum, completely removed from the context of your life and experiences and emotions, and, for me, that is exactly what makes it so meaningful. When you read a good book, you don’t put it down and walk away completely unaffected. If it’s really done its job, something about it will stick with you: a feeling, a thought, a new perspective. And I believe that if you really connect with it, it will store away something of you as well. In the same way that a song can whisk a couple back to their first date or a lullaby can conjure the warmth of a mother’s arms, I find that books become connected to the time when I first read them, like a bridge into the past. Reading The Scarlet Letter will always remind me of AP English 3. Bridge to Terrabithia will always pull me pack to the sound of my third grade teacher reading it out loud as we sat in silence at our little wooden desks. When I reread Lord of the Rings, perhaps years from now, I’m willing to bet that it will still remind me of lying in bed in my freshman dorm room, fighting off a terrible cold. And maybe someday I’ll pick up Borstal Boy and find that it brings me right back here, to the stress and hard work, to all those things that got in the way once upon a semester.
So I don’t mind writing my review a month too late. That’s life.