Once upon a time, a whole bunch of years ago, a nice small person asked me whether magic was real, and I did my best to answer her. She was maybe…6?
And I stand by that answer: the world is big and wide, and there is room for everything in it, as far as I can tell, including magic.
But that's not where the trouble is coming from this time. Now she is 13, and the trouble, if you can believe it, is coming from here:
After reading—and loving—the graphic novel version (which we got from some publisher at some point, thank you, publisher!), Chestnut chose this book as the one to buy at one of our many "We had to do something that was not so easy, so now we will buy a book to soothe our souls."
She's been reading it and loving it (weirdly enough, alongside Pride and Prejudice), but she came home from school yesterday, bereft. I mean, really bereft, upset and distraught to the point that I had to say, "Hey, are you OK?"
Spoilers will abound from here on, so watch yourself.
"He grows up," she said, waving the book around. "And he can't see ghosts anymore, and he isn't special and magical, and there is no more magic."
This sort of killed me. I mean, I suppose it's fruitless to ask why growing up has to be equated with losing magic, because of course the problem is that it's true: it's very hard to see ghosts once you've grown up. One does lose one's magical abilities. On some (horrible, terrible) level, growing up is about growing away from magic. But jeez, did he have to write about it? Put it down in black and white where kids can see it? It's so…sad.
I might curl up in a ball and mourn now.
4 thoughts on “Do You Believe in Magic Part II”
Hmm… Puff the Magic Dragon goes there too, although I’m not sure my kids actually understood that part of it.
Crap. My daughter and her dad are reading it right now…
So does The Polar Express…
There’s an incredible scene in the movie “Boyhood” where the Ethan Hawke character answers the boy’s innocent question about leprechauns — whether they exist and whether magic exists — that took my breath away. If you haven’t seen it, check it out.
The loss of magic as one ages is such a common theme. So sad. In a related topic, I love this response to CS Lewis characterization of Susan Pevensie’s maturation causing her to lose Narnia.