When I was a kid, all I ever did was read.
And I mean, it was all I did. I didn’t have many friends and I didn’t have any extracurricular activities and I didn’t have anything better to do… so I just read, read, read, read, read.
My favourite author then–actually, my favourite author of all time–was/is Stephen King. I devoured his books and the monsters inside them with an unbridled enthusiasm. If my mum ever lost me in the library, she knew exactly where to find me–nestled in Fiction, under the letter K (or B, depending on whether I was working my way through the works penned under Richard Bachman).
Mr. King provided a much-needed escape from my sometimes-shitty life. Like I said, I didn’t have many friends (or any friends) and the lack of social stimulation could be kind of lonely, so it was nice to lose myself in a world that sucked even more than mine did.
Books were my best friend. And I ain’t even ashamed to admit it.
Even now that I actually have a social life (-ish) and adult responsibilities and just things to do in general, I find myself escaping into a good story every once in a while. Lately, my life has gotten a little out of control–nothing I can’t manage, but something I definitely like to forget about sometimes. So, I started reading Angela’s Ashes, because I figured what could be worse than growing up in poverty in Ireland in the ’20s?
Literally, nothing. Nothing is worse.
It is the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever read.
I have to read it in spurts because I get overwhelmed. There is something about having these truly terrible things narrated by a child that makes the memoir chilling (in the best way, obviously) and it gets me emotional. I don’t want to spoil anything (although, the book and the movie have been out long enough that y’all should know what happens by now) but a lot of children die and it’s really, really, really sad. And Frankie’s dad, well, he will piss me off in one minute and then have me laughing in the next and then have me crying and then before you know it I’m pissed off at him again. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, but I appreciate it so much because when I’m reading about kids starving to death and an alcoholic father and a seriously depressed mother… I forget about my own life.
I’m about halfway done Frankie’s memoir and despite experiencing the full spectrum of emotions over and over and over again, it’s done wonders for my mental state, to be honest. When I return back to my own life, the problems I have feel much more manageable now. I’ve given my brain a break from stressing over my life to lose myself in somebody else’s.
The way I figure it, if Frankie McCourt can make it through his life, then I’ll be just fine.