House with a clock book
The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairsone day when i was about 8 or 9, living in some chilly state, i bundled myself up until i looked like a little gray egg, hood over head, the hoods furry fringe making my face a cameo portrait of a round genderless blob, and proceded to wait for my ride in the lobby of my apartment building. a young man came down to use the vending machines there, looked at me, and asked conversationally, Are you a little boy or a little girl?... i died a little bit, then squeaked out: Im a little girl.
i laugh at the story now but i also cant help but remember the sharp flash of humiliation, the quick decision that it was less embarrassing to be a girl mistaken for a boy than to admit that i could have been a boy who looked like a girl, and then of course the ample self-loathing that followed. it is interesting to think about the complicated emotions that my youthful self had to wrestle with.
i recently re-read House with a Clock in Its Walls and was taken aback by the memory of reading it for the first time at age 10 or so - and the memory i had had back then of my moment of mortification and sudden femininity. a memory of a memory! i was never a bullied or angst-ridden child, so that memory pops out as almost uniquely painful. the protagonist Lewis Barnavelt of House With a Clock was the first time id read about a hero who was unheroic, who lied to avoid embarrassment, who rather despised himself. reading about him, reading the story of a boy filled with anxiety and doubt and even self-loathing, was almost like a tonic: now here was an author who lived in the real world! here was a protagonist who knew exactly how i felt that day. Lewis Barnevelt is akin to Narnias Edmund or Eustace - except Aslan does not step in to help him slough off his self-hating nature. he has to do it on his own. he does not go on a quest and he does not save the day; instead he grows by bits and starts, the shedding of each of his dark layers a small triumph - quickly forgotten by Lewis, almost unbearably affecting to me.
BOOK VS MOVIE: The House with a Clock in its Walls
The House With a Clock in Its Walls FTI
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It is the first in the series of twelve novels featuring the fictional American boy Lewis Barnavelt see list of Lewis Barnavelt novels. Lewis Barnavelt, recently an orphan, moves to the town of New Zebedee, Michigan , to live with his mysterious uncle Jonathan Barnavelt. Lewis' uncle turns out to be a mediocre, though well-intentioned, warlock. His next-door neighbor and good friend, Florence Zimmermann, is a far more powerful good witch. Jonathan's house was previously owned by Isaac and Selenna Izard, a sinister couple who had dedicated their lives to black magic, and plotted to bring about the end of the world. Before dying, Isaac constructed the eponymous clock that he hid somewhere inside the walls of the house, where it eternally ticks as it attempts to pull the world into the magical alignment, which would permit him to destroy it.