There are a number of books that I’ve reread at various times in my life, and each time they have generally changed each time I’ve read them
First is the Narnia books – I loved these as a child as I saw them purely as escapism. Then I read them again when I was in my early twenties, and reacted badly to them . Aslan = Jesus, metaphors laid on with a trowel (this being the same book I had read 10 years earlier, of course). I was having a reaction to the Catholic Church in my early 20s and and included Narnia as part of the “antidisestablishmentarianism” feminism reaction. I read TLWW again in my 30s, and wasnt so reactant to it – but still didnt have the warm and fuzzies from when I was a child
Second is Jane Eyre – when I read her in my early teens I got bored with the endless droaning text. blah blah blah. I read it again when in my 20s, and liked it, but wasnt in love with it. I read it again in my 30s when the BBC did a version with Toby Jones, and loved it. I was reading it for the subtext, and naturally found loads of it!
The third is “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”, which I read in my teens, but then again in my thirties, where I picked up more of the subtleties, such as the threat of domestic violence from the drunken husband.
A book that *hasn’t* changed for me over the years is Wuthering Heights – I’ve never enjoyed this book, no matter how many times I’ve read it. I simply dont get the hype.
So what about you, constant reader? are there any books that have changed meaning when you read it later in life