As a child I read voraciously, but erratically. When it was time to pick a new Nancy Drew, I made my selection based on the cover art, rather than reading in sequence. I reread old books just as often as seeking new ones. It wasn’t always clear where the books had come from.
Thus I had in my adolescent collection a copy of The Charmed Circle, a 1962 “teenage novel” by Dorothea J. Snow. Somewhere along the way it disappeared, but in 2014, in a fit of nostalgia, I ordered a used copy from Amazon, sorting through more than a dozen “Charmed Circle” titles until I found the right one. Then I stuck it on a shelf and forgot about it. But recently, in my search for comfort food reading, I took it down.
I thought I’d read a little and then quickly fall asleep. Instead, I stayed up past two and finished it. That’s how it was when I was a teenager, too. Sometimes I’d finish it, then immediately flip back to the first page and start again.
Which is funny, because even back then the class stuff annoyed me, and it annoyed me even more this time. For instance, it had not occurred to me previously that our heroine, Lauralee Larkin, is elected Homecoming Queen mainly because her parents are willing to host (and fund) an endless array of pizza parties.
Nonetheless, there’s obviously something about the book I really like, and this time I figured out what: Lauralee tries things that scare her, and never gives up, even when those things don’t work out.
It occurs to me now that reading this book over and over again as a youth may have contributed to my ability to keep trying—to keep submitting my writing, to keep applying for jobs that seem like long shots, even to keep asking guys out (right up through my husband). This tenaciousness in the face of much rejection has served me well. It’s pretty much my only move! Fortunately, it’s the only one I’ve needed.
The Charmed Circle by Dorothea J. Snow. Whitman, 1962.
Reviewer bio: Dawn Corrigan‘s poetry and prose have appeared widely in print and online. She works in the affordable housing industry and lives in Myrtle Grove, FL.