“Few things leave a deeper mark on the reader, than the first book that finds its way to his heart.”
– The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I remember the first book that made a lasting impression on me, because I still think of it often, even now.
I read Four Days Till Friday by Pat Moon when I was 13/14, and I remember reaching the end of the book and being utterly shocked, horrified in fact. I didn’t know books could do that. I hadn’t realised just how much power an author had. So distraught was I, that I bought a notebook in the days that followed and rewrote the entire story with a happier ending!
I suppose you could say that the book actually set a precedent for my own creative writing after that. Unsatisfied with the ‘everyone lived happily ever after’ spiel, I sought to be moved by my writing, and enjoyed pushing boundaries. I remember writing an unnecessarily long-winded creative writing piece for my GCSE English coursework, about a girl recovering from amnesia after a car accident. As she starts to regain her memories, she begins to realise that she wasn’t the only girl in the car accident… but she was the only one who made it out alive (I got an A* for it and I always hoped it was because I’d made the marker cry).
So, I suppose I should thank Pat Moon for breaking my heart (and stamping on it), because it was my first experience of truly realist fiction, and it helped me to progress as a writer.
If you want a good cry, I recommend reading Four Days Till Friday (and check out what Goodreads has to say about it). If you do plan on reading it, beware of spoilers in reviews – it’ll ruin the entire experience. It isn’t available to buy on The Book Depository, but I’ve seen it for pennies on Amazon.
What was the first book to really touch you? Have you ever been completely moved/emotionally winded by a piece of fiction? Comment below!