Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

My Emotional Soundtrack: Things I Can’t Go Back To by Christie G

As librarians and teen advocates, we are always talking (one way or another) about bibliotherapy- giving books to a patron as a type of therapy, a way to work out their problems and issues when they may not want or cannot talk to someone about it- whether it’s drugs, death, abuse, or just questioning the world around them.  Media, whether it’s books or movies or songs, can have such a lasting impression on a person that sometimes it’s forever linked with a particular incident or a moment in time, and we encourage that in our culture.  We have “our song” for when we have special relationships, and we have “our favorite” movie, which we all know changes depending on the year.

: the use of selected reading materials as therapeutic adjuvants in medicine and in psychiatry; also : guidance in the solution of personal problems through directed reading

But what about the media that are tied to not-so-pleasant episodes in our personal soundtrack?  What books/movies/songs are tied to those icky bits that you can’t bear to go back to?  I’ll share with you mine, you share yours in the comments below…

Eragon by Christopher Paolini.  I know, bad teen librarian person, not reading one of THE books that was written by a teen that made it into the bestseller list.  I was starting to read it when my father had heart surgery in 2004, and he died and was brought back on the operating table.  We had eight additional years with him, but I’ve yet to be able to see this book without thinking of that episode.

Disney’s Aladdin.  Saw it in the theaters with my then-boyfriend, and ADORED it.  Two years later, he then broke up with me before our high school graduation our senior year, right after our prom, yet we had to go on a trip to Mexico with others from the high school together.  Painful much?  So why would Aladdin bring back the painful memories? He gave me a musical Aladdin watch for my birthday, right after he broke up with me, and I had to write a thank you note.  I still have the watch somewhere, but crack up when That Guy starts singing the Weird Al version of certain Aladdin themes.

The Hobbit.  For a self declared fantasy freak, I should completely be IN LOVE with this book.  I could NEVER get through the damn thing.  I got lost on the dwarves names, I don’t think I ever met Golum, and I never did find the stupid dragon That Guy swore was in there.  And because I had to read THE FIRST of the books, I never got to the rest of the Lord of the Rings.  That Guy and I had one of our first fights in our relationship about this book; I remember, even if he doesn’t.  Does this mean I won’t go see the movie?  HELL NO, because I want to see Magneto and Queen Elizabeth I make googly eyes at each other, and I loved Aidan Turner (who plays Kili) in BBC’s Being Human.

As I Lay Dying.  I know we are supposed to love the classics, and As I Lay Dying is considered one of the best novels of 20th century literature.  I can’t stand it.  Had to read it in high school, hated it then.  Had to re-read it in college, hated in then.  Never will I read it unless I’m forced to, and even then it’ll be up for debate.

A Clockwork Orange.  I read this for a class in college, and I had nightmares for weeks after.  It was a dystopian literature class, and this book was a required reading assignment.  I was fine with the book- disturbed, probably, but didn’t have any problem.  This issue was that we then watched Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation, and I am an extremely visual person.  I couldn’t get the images of needles and eyeballs out of my head for months.  Needless to say, I have never gone back to this book, although I’ve gone back repeatedly to others that were in the class.