I have a number of things to thank Morrissey for. The first is getting me through my teenage years, the second is introducing me to Oscar Wilde.
Like many other awkward teens I spent many hours bemoaning my lot in my bedroom, listening to Morrissey and poring over my books.
Once my family cottoned on to my appreciation of Oscar Wilde, I unwrapped tome after tome every Christmas and I loved being immersed in his elegant poetry and prose. As a teenager I was rarely lost for words, but if I ever wanted to find one, and remember why I loved them, I just needed to dip into any one of his books.
So it was only a matter of time before Raffie picked one up. “Read it to me Mummy please, what’s it called?” he said, waving a paperback in my face.
“It’s the Picture of Dorian Gray Raffie, I’m not sure it’s really your thing.”
“Dory? Dory! Mummy, like Finding Nemo, I like Dory. Read me the Dory book Mummy.”
“Well it’s not quite the same,” as I begin to flounder.
“I want to read it, right now!” he yelled.
It was very early in the morning. And so I turned the opening page of one of Wilde’s most acclaimed works into a précis of Finding Nemo, minus of course the painting in the attic. For this I can only apologise. Raffie looked about as impressed as I was, and promptly turned on the DVD player.
When he was tiny I bored him senseless with book after book, from the dog-eared Ladybird classics I grew up with to recipe books. And although he’s no longer a captive audience in his bouncer, reading a book is about the only thing Raffie will sit down for.
Like many children his age, he’s a big fan of Julia Donaldson. He hasn’t warmed to the Gruffalo, and despite his enduring affection for Cave Baby, Stick Man is currently top of Raffie’s book list.
And it’s one of my favourites too, as I am constantly reminded that, after being chased by a dog, thrown into a river, and weaved into a swan’s nest, Stick Man’s day is, generally speaking, usually worse than mine.
He’s also enjoying one of her other books, the Snail and the Whale. My first introduction to whales was a preserved one which came to our town on the back of a flatbed truck. I was very small, it was very big, and I remember being very confused looking at it in the park. I am glad that Raffie’s first introduction to the species has come from not only Finding Nemo but a book where the whale is still exploring the oceans rather than the M5.
I’ve grown to love reading Raffie stories, especially those that rhyme, and it’s reignited my love of reading books too. It doesn’t sound like a hoot, but delving into the history of Restoration London is a joy, partly as it’s the first grown up book I’ve been able to read in two years.
And with Raffie now insisting on reading books himself, I might even get the chance to get reacquainted with Wilde, and remind myself why Raffie made the right choice, just at the wrong age, to single out The Picture of Dorian Gray.
I often wonder how to help Raffie get more out of reading and liked the tips on the Reading Rockets website http://www.readingrockets.org/article/23794/
I love New Mummy Review and the adventures of Cherry and her family. You can read more here at http://newmummyreviewblog.blogspot.co.uk/