I’m starting a new series on here about the books that influenced me growing up.
These are the books that shaped my brain. Gave me my fears, values, and passions.
The Julie Secret Ingredients!
by Honoré Morrow
This book was required reading in middle school. I have a flashbulb memory of being sent out of the classroom for some reason, and hunkering down on the tile floor to read.
So many of us have played Oregon Trail: YOU DIED FROM DYSENTERY. This was the real deal. It’s based on a true story, and they made a movie out of it (which I haven’t seen).
Seven kids are taken by their parents in a wagon train to Oregon. Their parents die on the trip, and the oldest boy is determined to keep going with his brother and five sisters.
The character arc of John at 13 years of age is immense. He starts out as a recalcitrant bully. By the end, he’s caring for a baby of six weeks in addition to the rest of his siblings. I found it riveting and horrible. Mostly horrible, but I couldn’t look away.
Thanks to the internet, I’ve since learned that the Sager children were orphaned a second time in a massacre after they made it to Washington State and the missionary family adopted them.
What a wretched tale!
However, three of the children did live to ripe old ages, so there’s that.
I suppose the flavor this book added to my being was the idea of resiliency and determination. Some people truly suffer in this world – usually because of circumstances beyond their control, but sometimes because they are too stubborn to turn from the path they’ve chosen.
Do you have memories of based-on-a-true-story books you read growing up that left an impression?