The Problem with Dreams Jul 2, 2009
I first read this book more than thirty years ago. I remember looking at the cover and feeling disappointed. I read Biggles books and this seemed so removed from this that I wondered why my mother had bought it for me. Yet, I read and re-read it. It became the book to read when I was ill in bed.
However, reading it again I can see that I never read it. Not deeply. I missed so much. The story of Ben's desire for a dog and the disappointment at receiving an embroidered picture of a dog instead, is very clear. It is the skill of Philippa Pearce that she wove in so much more, the consequences of growing old, being a child in a large family and the selfishness of children that can drive them into self-willed isolation as they immerse themselves in their dreams, that makes this a book so much more than a book only for children.
For me, returning to it so many years after first reading it has given me, not just the chance to read once more a wonderful piece of literature, it has also shone light on aspects of my own childhood that had lain long forgotten. With the perspective that adult life brings, these aspects can be seen, not as moments confined to childhood but as steps on the long journey to being who we are.