I like to think, as readers, we can track our lives through the books we read and how they relate to our journey. Obviously they can’t all be so meaningful as that but there are some that remain with us and, for me at least, Charlotte’s Web was one of them. My first, and most treasured, copy of ‘Charlotte’s Web’ was a hand-me-down from my Dad – its pages were dim and it smelled a little musky but it did the job and fast became one of my favourite stories. I often credit it for my love of reading and wrote about it in my application for University. Four years later and I feel like I’m still holding onto its messages to help get me through every day.
Title: Charlotte’s Web Author: E. B White
Date published: Oct 15 1952
This is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur and of Wilbur’s dear friend, Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider. With the unlikely help of Templeton the rat, and a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saves the life of Wilbur, who by this time has grown up to be quite a pig.
E.B. White wrote a story that compelled its readers, young and old, to not only love a pig but a spider as well. There’s something wonderful about the humbleness of the characters in this charming, emotional little tale and it’s one of the many things that make this such a wonderful children’s book. Wilbur is an underdog right from the start being the runt piglet in his litter. He defies his first owner’s expectations and commends Fern’s kindness of heart by surviving beyond this and continues to prove people wrong throughout his life. Likewise, Charlotte the spider demonstrates a love and selfless disposition so far from our expectation of spiders that it almost takes the reader by surprise. Both together are the perfect example of loving your neighbour and, more than that, of friendship.
Today I wanted to celebrate a book that really meant something to me. The honesty this book gave to me as a child was a big seller for me when I was younger and is such an important part of its message. The story makes no excuses and doesn’t hide the truths of life, White allowed readers to know that life won’t always be fair but wrote it in a way that wasn’t quite as bad as it seemed. It demonstrates all the good you can get from life despite its trials. “After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die.”(Charlotte)
It’s language, whilst simple, teaches lessons that really stick with you and generate intense emotional bonds within the confines of its meagre 184 pages. Its a story for kids with all the plot and all the development as one might experience in any given 500 page novel. I often forget so much of the story is centred around animals as it seems to explore deeply human issues and really resonated with me. Who ever thought I’d feel less noble than a spider? But there’s an important message to be learned from even that. I just can’t get over how special a story this is.
I didn’t think much of the film when I saw it but the book will always remain an important reading milestone for me. When I think of it i remember to appreciate the little moments in life that make you smile, for it’s those day to day experiences that make up life in its entirety. A happy story and well worth a read, even if you’re a grown-up.
4 out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon.co.uk / Bookdepository
If you liked ‘Charlotte’s Web’ try ‘The Wind in the Willows’
If you have any other suggestions or insights feel free to message me or leave them in the comments section below!
– Cat –