Augusten Burroughs has written many books about his childhood, including Running with Scissors and the upcoming You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas.
Probably, you remember some of the things you did as a child, the games you played with friends or what you did alone indoors when it was raining. Maybe, you even remember how much thicker the frosting on cupcakes seemed to be. But can you remember how it felt to be a child?
I have three books that will make you feel like a kid again.
I don't mean to imply these are light, care-free books that will carry you down memory lane. No, these are complex, fascinating, beautiful, sometimes painful — but always utterly magnificent — books that have one thing in common: Each will fully consume you and lift you entirely free of that most adult invention: time.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, paperback, 352 pages
You may have already read The Diary of Anne Frank, perhaps even as a child. But you need to read it again, because this book should never be an assignment, it should be only a reward.
This book is so full of feeling it nearly trembles in your hands. The girl inside of it is alive. She whispers in your ear, she tells you what she has told nobody else. She grabs you by the shoulders and makes you sit, sit, sit to help her figure out The Boy. The girl lived in the center of the worst world there would ever be, but inside the girl was a mind so busy and green and fun and funny and bold and hungry and brave. To read this memoir is to be this girl — and to love her, deeply.
Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote, paperback, 240 pages
Truman Capote was 21 when he wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms, which is really all you need to know about the book — it was written from the rear exit door of childhood.
It's like Capote was able to take this melancholy, drifting, timeless summer feeling and place it beneath a glass bell. If you submit to the book and ask no questions as you read, you will essentially be 13 again, though as a different person than you were and with an entirely different life.
The Pull of the Moon, by Elizabeth Berg, paperback, 208 pages
The last book I am going to suggest has nothing to do with childhood, so at first it may seem an odd choice. But if childhood is the single time in life when it seemed our nerves were new and we could feel life itself against our skin and there was no dividing the day into segments, where there was only one long "right now" — then The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg is exactly the book to take you back. A novel about a woman in her 50s who runs away from home, the present tucked inside this book is the realization that you still are the child you once were — you just never take your watch off anymore.
So, if you suddenly find yourself feeling altogether entirely too grown up, do this: Take one of these three books, open it up and begin reading while you suck on a red hot Atomic Fireball, which, by the way, you should always have in your pocket.
"Three Books ..." is produced and edited by Ellen Silva and Bridget Bentz.