Yesterday I walked down the memory lane of my childhood via a popular song from my middle-school years. Today it's a book.
This is a nice cover of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, but it's not THE cover, if you know what I mean.** The paperback that I grabbed off Amanda's shelf for the Children's Classics "Re-read a childhood favorite" challenge came from a library book sale if I recall, and it has a black cover and a 1995 copywright. I can't remember from which version I read growing up, but I do know that this is a book that I read over and over.
There are memories from this plot that are imprinted in my mind: the clothes in the music cases, bathing in the fountain, and getting meals from the automat (what exactly was an automat?), the teamwork of former sibling rivals Claudia and Jamie.
I loved the semi-realistic adventure tale that this novel allowed me to enter. It seems realistic enough, but it was still thrilling in the illicit nature of it all.
I had already decided on our occasional weekend trips to the donut store that if I ran away, I would live on donuts. I think that a donut cost about 30 cents, and two donuts were quite filling. It wouldn't take much to feed me at only 60 cents a meal.
So this month I re-visited this book from my childhood. It held up nicely. It was still a fun adventure twenty-(ahem) years later. And what's more, being a Connecticut citizen now as Jamie and Claudia are, I had a new layer to appreciate as they discussed riding the Metro North commuter train. I still don't really know what an automat is, but that could be because I was not 11-years-old in 1967 in NYC as Claudia is.
I think that I understood the files a bit more, and the fact that the whole thing is a report to "Saxonberg," which I could have missed before. I also enjoyed the grammatical banter that Jamie and Claudia shared, which I may not have appreciated in my youth (although by high school, I was quite the queen of diagramming sentences. Forget Geometry proofs -- I've tried to forget Geometry proofs -- but dissecting and assigning the parts of speech to those little lines, now that was fun).
At any rate, it's a great book that not only held up with me, but is one that Amanda has already read several times herself.
**I hope that you will click over to the Children's Classics post and take a walk down memory lane as you click through some of the links to read people's reviews of their own childhood favorites. But I've also included a review over there of Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading. It features this very book as well as so many others, and it too has been a lot of fun to read. There are also pictures of the original covers of these much-loved books.