|Summer of the Swans|
Today I have a story about a book called The Summer of the Swans. Though it is a juvenile book, it is nostalgic to me since I remember reading it when I was a young child. A little backstory relating to my early fascination/obsession/passion for reading, is that I would often look at the list of the Newberry Medal winners (an award for outstanding children's literature) and pick out books to read that sounded interesting. I was curious to know what made a book good enough to win such a great award, and even at that young age, I wanted to soak up and learn as much as I could about life through the pages of those books. I couldn't get enough of reading. As I grew up, I navigated the library, finding as many books as I could that seemed thought-provoking. I loved the feeling of learning something new each time I read a novel.
All of these memories came back to me about a week ago, out of nowhere, as I remembered this little book The Summer of the Swans. I specifically recalled the big orange sneakers that Sara, the main character, was so upset about, and the color she decided to dye them. I remembered Aunt Willie hating motor cycles and I remembered what happened when Wanda, Sara's older sister, begged to ride one with her boyfriend. I remembered relating to Sara and her insecurities and her great love for her brother, Charlie.
The other day, I read this book for the first time since elementary school and I felt so happy rereading each of my memories from when I was young. But I also discovered some things I didn't remember when I was a child. I realized some of the book's themes, including the stage that everyone goes through when they feel like an outsider. The stage when you don't have the right body, the right clothes, the right friends, the right anything (I know the feeling all to well).
But then life goes on, and you realize that what others think of you isn't as important as you had originally thought. You realize that sometimes many of your insecurities are all in your head, and that there are more important things to life than worrying about the color of your tennis shoes. (Not that you won't ever have insecurities again - we're only human - but in time it really does get better when you are steadfast in looking to Jesus to find your worth.) :)
"A picture came into her mind of the laughing, curly headed man with the broken tooth in the photograph album, and she suddenly saw life as a series of huge, uneven steps, and she saw herself on the steps, standing motionless in her prison shirt, and she had just taken an enormous step out of the shadows, and she was standing, waiting, and there were other steps in front of her, so that she could go as high as the sky, and she saw Charlie on a flight of small difficult steps, and her father down at the bottom of the steps, just sitting and not trying to go further. She saw everyone she knew on those blinding white steps, and for a moment, everything was clearer than it had ever been" (Byars, 1970).
The Summer of the Swans is a book about a girl who found herself after losing another. A story about love, loss, gain, and self-discovery in its unique little way. I definitely recommend this book no matter your age.
I hope you enjoyed my post and I hope you have a great weekend! Thank you again for reading!