David bernardy's Reviews > Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
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Nov 25, 07

Read in October, 2007

I grew up without reading this book. For some, that seems to be unimaginable. I can maybe understand why. My wife and I are reading it now, or I should say, I am reading it aloud before bed, and it's really wonderful. I could totally see why it would be a kind of life-formative book. I was reading a passage last night and laughing at it (there is so much in here that is really funny), and it made me wonder about the level of the humor. That is, would the kid me have thought this was funny or is it my adult self? And I think probably the kid would have. This is all to say that reading it now, as an adult, it gives me an appreciation for kids' minds, and kids' books that take them seriously, even in their humor. I hope that all makes sense. I'm a late comer to the Harry Potter books, too, but was really delighted by them in some of the same ways.

But--to get back to "Charlotte's Web"--there's a section about the end of summer, a couple chapters away from their Fair trip. White makes this lovely kind of song about the end of the season and the coming of Fall and the kind of beauty and dread and tinged sadness of it all. My god, it was affecting. That's something that I probably would not have picked up on as a kid, but I think that has more to do with kid-me than with most kids. I know my wife remembered that part distinctly, in fact it is one of the reasons we went back to this book now. We have recently moved from Minnesota, our home for about four years, and Fair Time there just passed. We really experienced the sort of sad beauty of summer's end there. In our new place in Chapel Hill it hasn't happened quite yet. It is still hot and very dry from drought, so I don't know if there will be that kind of fading moment or not. We'll have to see.

Anyhow, when a book for kids (whatever--for all of us) can make you laugh and cry and think about the beautiful sadness of death--then, damn, what can you do but ramble?
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Elle Beautiful review. I appreciate the same things you do about the book. I like your thoughts on children.


Parisusa Hello,
I read this once as a child - not sure what age, maybe 10. I remember laughing and crying a lot. I have never seen a film version. The story is still quite vivid in my memory 30 years later. But I can't recall what I had for dinner yesterday.


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