I read Lord of the Flies today. Take that, Mr Brian Cooper, grade 6 teacher of Central Park, Dundas.
I was so traumatised by the half I stayed in the classroom for that it lurked in my mind as the stuff of nightmares. Even from a distance of 34 years I could picture the pig head on the spear, thick with flies, and the mounting terror as savagery overcame civilisation and decency.
It's a hell of a book: tightly written and justifiably a classic. The things that scared me as a 10 year old scared me again; I'm still a wuss with a vivid imagination. I felt tense, unsettled and almost dreaded turning the pages at times. I could hardly bear to read what I knew was coming next.
It's funny, slaying a bogeyman of your childhood. Lord of the Flies was a brilliant novel, dark and disturbing. Not like the monsters-under-the-bed I outgrew, it contains ideas that should be frightening and upsetting. It was just waiting for me to be ready to read them.
I still think Mr Cooper was an idiot to read that book to a class containing a 10 year old - hell, we'd had Stuart Little as our quiet time book the year before - but I wish I'd read it when I was in my teens.