Into the wardrobe . . .

I don’t tend to try to get people to read my favorite books. I figure that the best thing to do is to let the book stand on its own merit, and if you won’t be convinced by the book itself, you certainly aren’t going to be convinced by me. I myself don’t tend to read a book just because everyone else is reading it (but neither will I refuse to read something just because it’s on the bestseller list). I have never talked to Kelly about Madeleine L’Engle, my mom has never read Pride and Prejudice, and I no longer try to get people to read Harry Potter by talking of his many fine qualities. There are some of my favorites I’ve asked Mike to read, but many I have not. My old best friend once asked me why I had never recommended LotR to her, and I thought but did not say, “I gave up on recommending books to you after you hated Anne of Green Gables.” I understand that everyone’s not wired the same way, though I think it’s a shame when wiring makes one miss out on a great story. But I am sure you have favorites I’ve never read. That’s how it goes.

Before the backlash begins, for the record, I don’t love The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because everyone else does. I love it because I remember devouring it for the first time, and how much I loved the Beavers and how Mr. Beaver gets all the best lines and how cute their house is and Mrs. Beaver’s sewing machine and Father Christmas and the Pevensies and the Professor. And Aslan, but I still feel like I don’t have the right to have an opinion about Aslan because he’s so . . . Aslan. I love it because, thankfully, I never outgrew fairy stories. I love it because I believe I can still get to Narnia, if I keep my eyes open.

I love it so much that I’m a little afraid to go see the movie, to be honest. I feel more apprehensive about it than I did about LotR, because I read those in high school. Narnia is childhood. I was seven or eight when I read the Narnia books for the first time, and so Narnia is my childhood in a box set. (After Narnia, Anne was my next passion. You can see why I wouldn’t want to recommend other books to my friend.) There is no way it’s going to live up to my imagination, and it’s going to be hard to go in and accept the movie on its own terms. Usually I don’t have trouble with that, but there are so many details I love about this book . . . I don’t see how a movie won’t be a letdown. Some people felt this way about LotR, some have felt this way about the recent P&P. I feel this way about Narnia. I didn’t know I felt this way until the past few weeks, when I realized how nervous I am about this movie. We’re going to see it tonight, and I’m excited, but I desperately want it to be right.

Sometimes I forget that other people also read the same books I do, and that the books that are so important to me also have meaning for other people. I forget that the Pevensies and Anne and Lord Peter and Vicky Austin don’t belong to me. I think a little bit of my apprehension about the movie is that . . . anything they get right (in my eyes) means that I have to share what’s in my head with the rest of the world. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is one of those books that I don’t want to share at all.

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