I’ve experienced reader’s block a few times in my life. Not because the book was boring but because it hurt my head to read it.
One was The Heart of Darkness. Brought out (yet again) all the atrocities done in the name of deliverance, racial superiority and just plain ol’ fashioned greed.
The other one was The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Red gave it to me as a gift when we first met. Of course that should have tipped me off to the kind of guy I was marrying but I got blindsided. That’s another blog for another day.
I recently started reading graphic novels and after having a rather happy experience with the first one, the 2nd one has me at a dead-end. I’ve been exposed to Holocaust literature as a child. I guess it was at the discretion of our class teacher, herself Jewish, who wanted us to know about that watershed moment in history because she was emotionally impacted by it.
Our reading list had Friedrich, The Number On My Grandfather’s Arm and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. I’m sure everyone knows that The Diary of Anne Frank is a given staple. Anyhow, the reason I can remember what I read in the 5th grade is because they disturbed me. Although the books were written specifically for children’s’ comprehension; it was the first time that I read something that was disturbing, factual and designed to shake me out of being a child and shove me towards knowing that the world wasn’t a good place or that people were good all over the world.
When I bought Maus, I thought it would be an easier read for me than those earlier books had been because back then I’d been in grade school and was a grown woman now. But that’s not how things shape up. A few chapters into Maus and I just couldn’t go further. Caricatures or not, they were depictions of real people, real incidents and real tragedies.
I guess I prefer my reading of the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson ilk..goes down easier. Color me an escapist but the world of make-believe, while deeply engrossing, doesn’t leave you with food for thought about the human condition. The kind of food that gives you indigestion I might add.
I did muddle through the earlier reader-block inducing books as well and will read all of Maus as well. But it’ll take some doing. A lot of doing.