Monday, July 13, 2015

Stories of My Life

Book 20 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from Feb. 25 - March 11

Stories of My Life by Katherine Paterson

Summary (via the book jacket)
Katherine Paterson's books are an integral part of childhood, made up of characters that feel like part of our families. Now, in these fascinating stories from her life, she reveals the origins of these characters, like Leslie Burke from Bridge to Terabithia, the great Gilly Hopkins, and Lyddie, as well as the events that inspired her storylines. Katherine's unique life began in China with her missionary parents, and continued as a single woman in Japan and then as a wife and mother of four in Maryland. And of course, these stories go behind the scenes to the exhilarating moments when she won her many awards, including two Newbery Medals and a Newbery Honor.
Filled with personal photos and letters, as well as introductions from fellow writers Kate DiCamillo and Nancy Graff, these funny, poignant, and heartwarming tales give fans insight into some of our most beloved children's books - and the legendary writer behind them.

My Opinion
It's not for everyone but I love people's stories so I didn't mind this read.  It reminded me of a Sunday visit, just sitting around listening to stories.  I imagine it would be a good audiobook if that format has been made.  

She presented an interesting perspective when she realized her children weren't as familiar with the family lore she had grown up with.  She said it was the transition to a dishwasher; when people hung out in the kitchen working together to wash and dry the dishes they would chat and share those "sink stories" to pass the time.

I could completely relate to her cute story about concentration. In high school a friend planned a surprise party for her when she was in the same room, reading a few feet away.  She was so engrossed she didn't hear a word and was totally surprised!  She credited her ability to zone out for how she was able to write while raising children. 

The read picked up for me when she was sharing stories from her adult life.  I didn't realize Bridge to Terabithia was based on a personal loss and I imagine that will change the way I look at it when I reread it with my children. 

A Few Quotes from the Book 

"There are things that happen to us when we are children that we never quite recover from."

"Young readers look at my nearly white hair and ask: "How do you know how we feel?" And I know because I still carry that child that I was inside myself. She is very much alive."

"To be loved by people you thought you hated is an experience I wish everyone could have."

"I loved [her four children] a lot, and even if I didn't spend nearly enough time cleaning the house they lived in, I made it up in countless hours of reading aloud."

"Four children take a lot of time, but I have said more than once that the people who took my time were the very people who gave me something worth writing about."

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