Sunday, July 24, 2011

All Grown Up

Today I'm using my post here at Acme to do double duty as it were. At "Heroines with Hearts" (the other blog I participate in) we are celebrating 100 followers with a Blogfest this weekend. Our topic...the first 'grown up' book we read.

The year was 1983. I was fourteen years old. An eighth grader.

My family and I had just finished watching the tv mini-series "The Thorn Birds". I was home ill from school. Since I was old enough to be on my own, and whatever virus I was currently suffering from wasn't life threatening, I was home alone. My mom had a copy of the book on her dresser, and I picked it up and thought, "Hey, I really liked this movie, I wonder if the book is any good." (Or something to that effect.)

So I read it.

Let's just say the book had a lot more detail than the movie. Definitely adult reading. Not just sex, but forbidden sex with a priest. Not that the actual story-line was a complete shock, like I said, I'd already seen the movie, but I did learn some new vocabulary. For example, in the scene where the old lady tries to seduce the priest, but he's not interested, I learned the word 'flaccid'. Had to look it up in the dictionary as a matter of fact.

Looking back now, compared to the things I read and write these days (spicy romance is the usual term used), The Thorn Birds seems quite tame. But for a fourteen year old, wow, it was the big time.

From there I went on to skip the whole "Sweet Valley High" phase that many high schoolers of my day journeyed through and went straight into the Harlequin American line. I haven't looked back since. And it's been a wonderful ride!

So, how about you? What's the first 'grown up' novel you ever read? (Be sure to check out other Blogfest participant posts on this topic. For links to their sites, visit Heroines with Hearts.)

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



dolorah said...

I remember reading Thorn Birds - and yes, at the time I thought it pretty racey too. I only watched the first few minutes of the movie though, it really wasn't as interesting as the novel.


Emily R. King said...

Ah, The Thorn Birds. My story is very similar to yours. I spent hours watching, rewatching, reading, and rereading The Thorn Birds. It's still one of my all-time favorites. Thank you for reminding me I'm due to watch/read it again soon! I see a girl's night in my future.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Donna and Emily,

Donna, it's funny how perceptions change over time, isn't it?

Emily, I love, LOVE, love books and movies I enjoy reading/watching over and over again. It's kind of like visiting an old friend, isn't it? Happy girl's night!

Francine Howarth said...


Hope you're feeling much better, now!

Absolutely loved The Thorn Birds (novel) which incidentally came from Aus as a Christmas present from an aunt. Then latterly the TV series, of course, which was great and starred Richard Chamberlain.

I love movies and TV series, but books of same always have so much to offer and more often than not fill in gaps that can never be covered in the space of a movie or series.

Memorable choice! ;)


Debra St. John said...

Books do tend to fill in gaps. Right now I'm rereading the final Harry Potter book after having (finally) seen the last movie yesterday. I know the story still makes sense for those who haven't read the books, but there's a lot there on the written page that goes way beyond what can be seen on the screen.

AnaMorganAuthor said...

I watched the series on TV with Richard Chamberlain. Very drama!

Paula Martin said...

Loved The Thorn Birds, and also the TV series. Watched the DVD again not long ago, but haven't read the book for years, even though it's still on one of my bookshelves.

Debra St. John said...

Gosh, I remember thinking Richard Chamberlain was so good looking.

I also have a copy of the book on my shelf...never read that particular copy, but wanted to have one for my library.

Amy said...

Great choice! I haven't read them, but they are definitely being added to my TBR list!

Love you blog! :)

Sylvia Ney said...

I'm just stopping by from the "Heroines with Heart or 1st Adult Book" blogfest. New follower here and I look forward to visiting again.

Debra St. John said...

Hey Sylvia and Amy,

Thanks for stopping by and being part of the Blogfest!


Loved the Thorn Birds miniseries--never read the book. What I didn't say in my post was that I picked up the Harlequins because this boy in my drama class was reading them (??!!) and I was intrigued!

Sarah Allan said...

I've heard of The Thorn Birds (and the movie) but I can't say I've ever read it. My to-read list is growing ever longer with this lovely blogfest. It's interesting to hear everyone's "firsts."

Debra St. John said...

Jennifer...The BOY in your class?! How interesting? Maybe he was trying to pick up some tips!

Sarah, I agree...I have so many new (to me) books to read now.

Marsha A. Moore said...

I had forgotten about The Thornbirds, but did read it. Easy to be inspired with the image of handsome Richard Chamberlain in the TV series!

saraphen said...

When I was fourteen, the book was Peyton Place. 1950-something, and we passed the paperback around in Home Ec class. All the steamy non-graphic sex was co-opted in the 60's by a milquetoast TV series.

Debra St. John said...

Marsha, Yep! I saw the tv version first.

Saraphen, I've heard of "Peyton Place", but didn't realize it was a book. Learn something new everyday!

Coral Anders said...

OMG! They let 8th graders stay up and watch this mini-series? Scandal! What was even more scandalous was how the producers played this story down so that their rosary wouldn't get in a knot. Or how the Catholic church was giving surmons on "The Thornbirds is a WORK OF FICTION! We'r NOT REALLY LIKE THAT!" Well, at least not until recent events, which makes you wonder if the Thornbirds wasn't some priest's biography. LOL

Morgan Mandel said...

I don't remember the very first grown up book I read, but it had to be a Gothic. My friend introduced me to them, and they were very popular around that time. I also read a lot of Dick Francis books in high school.

Morgan Mandel

CA Verstraete said...

I remember that Forever Amber was quite "shocking" and Lady Chatterley's Lover (think that's right title). Not sure how old I was.

Deb Larson said...

I read my older sister's book, Peyton Place - WOW! I thought for sure I'd get into big trouble reading such an adult book!
DL Lalrson

therabbitholeofalice said...

hahaha, i just read this. the thorn birds chapter heading thing is what i have tattooed!