The other day I thought of a book I had read as a child, probably in my pre-teens.
I wasn’t sure of the exact title, but I remembered that it included both “summer” and “die.” It was about a girl dying of some illness and was narrated by her friend, possibly her sister.
And there was a scene where the girl’s long blonde hair starts to fall out.
Once the book came back into my consciousness, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wanted to find the name of the book and I really wanted to re-read it purely our of nostalgia.
With some internetting, I discovered that the book is A Summer To Die and it was Lois Lowry’s first novel, written sixteen years before The Giver.
Armed with a name and author, I went to the local library.
Unfortunately they did not have a copy of A Summer to Die. The New Hampshire state library didn’t even have it, so I’ll have to buy the book if I want to walk down that particular memory lane.
I don’t mind purchasing it but the latest edition has a modern looking girl in capris and a tank top instead of the cover I remember as a kid. I wanted to old cover.
I was disappointed about not finding it until I noticed another book on the shelf, located just to the left of Lois Lowry, that brought another flood of memories.
The book was Betsy-Tacy by Maude Hart Lovelace.
And it was the old version. No updated cover for Betsy and Tacy!
To be honest, my memories are probably more of Betsy-Tacy and Tib instead of the first in the series.
The scene where they cut off locks of each other’s hair to put it lockets has stayed with me for life, although I don’t know why.
(Maybe it was because one of the girls had long curls, what we called banana curls, and I always wanted hair like that.)
The whole Summer To Die / Betsy-Tacy experience got me thinking about nostalgia reads, books you remember (sometimes vaguely) from childhood that you read over and over. Or would like to.
Besides A Summer to Die and Betsy-Tacy, my list of nostalgia reads include:
Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater. I still own this one and re-read it every few years.
The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The last time I tried to re-read Little House in the Big Woods, I was kind of baffled by my childhood obsession with this series given all the hunting and butchering. I know it was in order for the family to survive, but that scene where they play catch with the pigs bladder is rather disgusting.
The Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal. After listening to the Literary Disco podcast about Sweet Valley High, I’m less inclined to re-read these now though.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. A classic. I still say, “Eat it or wear it!”
The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, especially the one where Ramona squeezes all the toothpaste into the sink.
What are your nostalgia books?