Over and over you’ve heard that good readers make connections to what they read. But often those connections can seem very mysterious. Often there seems to be no logical relationship between a reader’s reaction and the plot line of a story. For example, when I think of Sarah MacLachlan’s novel Sarah, Plain and Tall, I think of two children learning to love a stepmother who has come from far way to marry their father. I think of a stepmother who learns to love the flat land of the Kansas prairies after leaving her home by the sea. I think of how joy can come out of sadness and grief.
But a student in grade six saw something different in this classic American novel. “Sarah, Plan and Tall”, she wrote, “…changed my view of life. This book taught me that we should not expect too much from anyone as our expectation doesn’t always turn into the reality. When I was new in Canada, a girl became my friend at first and as she realized that I trusted her, she hurt my feelings by betraying me. She broke my trust by saying that I was her enemy and by making fun of my Indian accent and my Indian hairstyle. I trusted her again and again, I trusted her until I finally realized this year that she was not trustworthy and trusting her was my biggest mistake. From this long experience, I also learned that whatever happens in life is for the good. Every time she broke my trust, I cried a lot at home. I cried each and every single day. Now, the result of this long journey of three years is a stronger me. Finally, I am strong enough to not cry in these difficult situations and to make wise decisions….”
The next time you’re reading a novel, notice how the story affects you. Then, find a trusted friend who has read the same novel. Compare thoughts. How did the novel affect each of you differently?