Reading Corner: The Chronicles of Narnia – A Children’s Classic to Help Me Through Adulthood

“Isn’t that a children’s book?”

If you see a young woman in a café, sipping a latte with her nose in a book, a children’s story may seem an unlikely choice of reading material. And yet, that is exactly what I’ve been doing.

The classic The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis is a seven-book series, telling tales of the magical land of Narnia and the children who come to be there. Written in the 1950s, Lewis’ narrational style can take a moment to adjust to, and there are admittedly some outdated stereotypes peppered throughout. However, these stories offer adventure, danger, and mystery, all with the comforting knowledge that everything will be alright in the end.

Is it harder to relate to eight-year-old Lucy Pevensie than an adult character? Perhaps, but it also reminds me of how it felt to be that age – an unexpected sense of nostalgia for me, given that I never actually read this series as a child. Children’s books can be a gateway back to simpler times, when our imaginations ran wild and the weight of the world was nowhere near our tiny shoulders. These books don’t require us to think too hard, and we can simply be swept away.

I have read many fantastic adult books, and I value their profound and powerful insights and perspectives. But in a time where global crises and injustices already feel inescapable, it can be a relief to read a book that doesn’t tackle heavy topics and avoid the deep reflection or intense emotions that follow. That level of peaceful escapism is something I have yet to find outside of children’s fiction. The books in this series hit a great middle-ground for me, where there is enough going on to keep my adult brain engaged, without requiring lots of mental energy to follow complex storylines. Meanwhile, my inner child is thrilled to be experiencing a story grounded in magic, rather than reality.

Several of my friends were avid readers in childhood and have since fallen out of the habit. I suspect many 20-somethings have replaced bedtime reading with bedtime scrolling, and it’s absolutely understandable. However, for those who wish they still read fiction, I posit that books like The Chronicles of Narnia offer an alternative form of low-energy entertainment, without the blue light to mess up your sleep cycle.

And besides, grown-up books all too rarely feature dragons or mermaids – or, indeed, talking lions.

M Shelton

Featured Image Source: Pexels

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