If You Could…



If you could live inside any book…what would it be?

Who would you be?

And why?

Me? I’d definitely want to live inside “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”…and, of course, I’d be Alice.

These books were all at once terrifying, thrilling, and enchanting to me when I was a young girl. My Grandmother Joan had given me a copy of these stories when I was very young, but I wasn’t allowed to read them until after I had turned 10.

So, when I first cracked the covers, it was like some right of passage…which inspired so much more of a sense of wonder from me because I was finally old enough to see what was “too grown up” for younger Shelley to see.

I loved all the proper talk with dodo birds and rabbits. (You can’t beat that.) The idea of the pig/baby and pepper in the kitchen and the thought of walking and walking and never reaching a destination were horrifying but so clever and original to my young mind that I always considered those stories to be the pinnacle of creativity and fun.

Plus, I always though Alice was incredibly brave…yet a bit too naive (which is kind of how I think of myself.)


24 Responses to “If You Could…”

  1. Theresa Says:

    The first thing that comes to my mind is Narnia. Not the Narnia of the first book, but the Narnia in the books that follow. I’ll have to dig out a book and find a description to share.

  2. shrewspeaks Says:

    I’d would be Scout in To Kill A Mocking Bird.

    Different, off-beat and open to new and frightening changes/ideas. I want to live in a world were one man’s efforts can make a differance and be able to shift aging ideas. A small world that always holds fast to childlike hope.

  3. Alison B. Says:

    My book would be The Black Stallion. I would be Alexis (not Alec), an independent 17 year old shipwrecked along with a wild horse. i free him before the ship goes down and together we swim to the safety of a deserted island. Its a long time before we are rescued. We have to learn to trust each other and become friends.

    I’d live in this book for the excitement, self-reliance and adventure. And for my life-long love of horses.

  4. jenfera Says:

    I think I would live in Bridget Jones’s Diary, but I would be her friend Shazzer, not Bridget. Bridget is far too often the source of her own problems. Shazzer and Jude both seem like they have it together a little more. I’d pick Jude, with the good job, but she is way too dependent on Vile Richard.

    I sometimes feel like I wasted my youth being way too responsible. I never lived in the city in my own apartment. I went straight from my mother’s house to my husband’s. And I’ve always wanted to go to London!

  5. rowan Says:

    Jen – me too on the responsible thing. I lived on my own a a student, but missed out on all the partying. Oh well – we are making up for it by having Monkbot pyjama parties, and suff – midnight feasts and pillowfights. Any curled up thin mints left? You would loooove London! (slips back-hander from tourist board into pocket.)

    Hmmm…on the book front, it might be Harold and the Purple Crayon. The little boy lives in a blank landcape and draws his own future – forests to walk in, paths to wander down…he always has the means of sorting things out when he messes up. It is a lovely book. Methinks there are great possibilities for painless nip/tucks and stuff. And hair like Krystle Carrington’s which may break off at some given moment, but stays stalwartly in place.

    Yep ….Harold draws nine pies with his favourite fillings, eats a slice from each, then draws a deserving hungry moose to finish off. No washing up….And a clutter-free house….just draw myself a cool permanently minimalist interior! And if the clutter creeps back, can always draw a myself a helpful eraser!

  6. Jules Says:

    Shelley – I inherited my Mom’s copies of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – wonderful. She always said she didn’t care what I read as long as I read – not that I needed any prodding – I was a book worm from the word go.

    Theresa – I actually didn’t read the Chronicles till I was 22 – don’t know how/why that happened that I didn’t discover them as a child but they are timeless and for all ages.

    I think I would be Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s – I must have read that book at least a dozen times when I was in high school & a dozen more times since. She’s kind of an exaggerated version of all the qualities (good & bad) in everyone. And she’s such a dreamer – but goes after her dreams.

    “I don’t mean I’d mind being rich and famous.That’s very much on my schedule, and someday I’ll get around to it; but if it happens, I’d like to have my ego tagging along. I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Tiffany’s” -“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, Truman Capote

  7. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Hi! I miss you guys! I don’t have a lot of time today but I had to weigh in with this:

    Elizabeth Bennett- Pride and Prejudice.

    It was going to be a Jane Austen novel and heroine for sure….and though Persuasion is my actual favorite novel….I can’t imagine having to live all those years, as Anne did, without the love of her life…at least Elizabeth gets her man early…and he’s handsome and rich and kind and generous.

    I also might’ve picked Anne of Green Gables…but I’ve read the whole series and I know she ends up with, like, 5 kids….and, ummm…I know she’s down with that, but….yeah, uhhh, NO.

  8. jenfera Says:

    Hey, bama – Bridget Jones’s Diary is loosely based on Pride & Prejudice, and The Edge of Reason is loosely based on Persuasion.

    Mr. Darcy, Mark Darcy…either way it’s all good.

  9. rowan Says:

    Ooooh…yes indeedy! Attempts a portrait of Colin Firth with aforementioned purple crayon 😀

  10. Hatson Says:

    I would want to be Jo in “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. I loved the relationship that family had, especially the sisters. I remember the first time I read it, and how impressed I was with Jo and her strength. She was a strong and independent woman, and even as a child I recognized that was a good thing! I visited the family home in Concord a few years ago and all of those childhood memories came flooding back.That is the lifelong gift that comes with reading. My community recently closed all of our Public libraries. A sad day for all of us when that is the first thing to go with budget cuts.

  11. jenfera Says:

    Rowan, I am sad to say I am completely out of Thin Mints. However, I can offer you a slice of leftover birthday cake from my stepdaughter’s birthday party the other day. Four layers of chocolate cake, with layers of chocolate mousse inbetween and ganache on top. Mmmmm.

    ~~~cowering in corner away from a wet fish for not only getting fangirly over Colin but continuing the food conversation…~~~

  12. KD Says:

    Oooh…I like this topic!
    So many choices!! My naughty mind jumped right to Claire Fraser from Outlander…then I read Shrew’s and was ashamed of myself. 😉

    So I would have to amend my original thought and go with Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House series. I have always been drawn to the early periods in American history, and my heart often yearns for a slower, simpler time.

    (And don’tcha just wish you could vacation in Hobbiton????? It would be very cool to be Gandalf for a day.)

  13. Connie8 Says:


    You beat me to it. Laura Ingalls Wilder would be my choice too. I remember my third grade teacher reading us those Little House books. I was totally drawn in to them. Such a simple life, close to the earth and filled with warmth and love, something I wished for so hard in my own life. Sometimes I could transport myself back to that gentle time and to this day it almost feels as real to me as a part of my own past.

    There is something so sweet about the Christmas when the girls got a homemade pair of mittens, a cup of their own and a piece of penny candy for Christmas. Every Christmas I think of that – how excited and grateful they were, as I spend spend spend money I don’t have to give gifts they don’t want to people who need nothing.

    I still want to go there.

  14. jojo Says:

    I hope you don’t mind me de-lurking for a moment to give a shout-out for my favourite literary heroine, Jane Eyre.

    It might sound a bit soppy but I love the classics like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, although I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I hadn’t read most of those books until after I’d seen the t.v. series or movies of them.
    When I was thirteen, I must have read Pride and Prejudice about three times, purely because I loved the t.v. serialization of it so much. Ah, the power of the moving image! When I was a little older I read Wuthering Heights and was completely lost in the drama and the emotion of it. I remember literally sobbing as I read the part where Heathcliff is told that Cathy is dead and he howls like a wild animal, and I remember thinking that this was the most beautiful and moving piece of writing that I’d ever read……or maybe I was just at an impressionable age, lol.

    But the character I’d most like to be and the book I’d most like to live in is Jane Eyre, and that might have something to do with it being shown on the t.v. a few months ago!
    Jane is just as feisty and outspoken as Elizabeth Bennett, but I really love the bleakness and intensity of the Bronte sister’s novels, for some reason.
    Although parts it weren’t completely true to the book, I thought it was fantastic. It was costume-drama heaven!
    And it just shows that it is possible for a story to be romantic and passionate without anyone so much as undoing a collar button!
    Toby Stephens as Rochester was pretty good casting too. (you might remember him as the Bond villian in “Die Another Day”).

    I love the thunderclap at the end…it adds a sense of foreboding of the drama about to unfold..

    Thanks for letting me go on about my favourite books Shelley, and I hope all is going well with the de-cluttering!

  15. leejolem Says:

    I want to be Rosie the Hobbit that Samwise returns to and marries after his adventures with Frodo. I already look a little hobbit like, and I always loved Sam’s loyalty and devotion. I’m a hobbit at heart.

  16. Staci Says:

    MMM, Shell… yes, a very “Staci” topic. and I know you think I’m gonna ditto bama and go with EB from P&P. But, also like bama, I favor another Austen heroine. Anne Elliot, who so like the rest of us, craves the approval of others as a young woman, and denies herself the love of her life. Finally, as an older and wiser woman, she learns to live for herself, without being selfish. And she gets the man in the end.

    And jojo, if you’re going to be Jane Eyre, let’s go for the Timothy Dalton Mr. R. YUMMY (sorry, shell… was that a little to fangirly???)

    I’d like to say that I’m a strong enough person to choose a non-romantic novel… but why bother? 🙂

  17. Laurita Says:

    hey shelley, i’ve been thinking i was surprised to see how many great posts you’ve been doing in recent days, after saying earlier this week that you wouldn’t have time to do much of anything here at the Monkbot.. truly prolific, in spite of yourself! stimulating stuff.. thanks as always… 😉

    the first thing that came to my mind when i saw your query was “Nancy Drew” –
    i read all of her girl detective books when i was in elementary school.. at times it seemed like the library was my real home, and somehow i was living her stories inside my head..
    (there are ads on TV now for a new N.D. movie coming out… wonder if it’s any good…)

  18. sideways721 Says:

    I knew immediately who I would pick, and then started reading through this thread thinking “oh, but these are so much better choices” and then I see Laura Ingalls Wilder. Yay! I think a big part of wanting to “live” in those books is that they were a great escape for me during a not so great childhood. I would stay up late reading those books while eating the sour tangerines from a tree in our backyard. When I smell a tangerine or clementine (much sweeter!) I think of being 10 years old reading Little Town on the Prairie, The Long Winter, and the rest.

  19. Mos Eisley Says:

    I would love to be a non-Muggle, generic character in any of the Harry Potter books (I am not brave enough to be Harry, Hermione or Ron). My fanatasy would be to attend Hogwarts. I especially love all the fanfare that takes place in the Great Hall.

    “Alice in Wonderland” would be a close second although probably a bit too disturbing for me to apprecaite any of the adventures. I agree that the baby/pig/cook/pepper scene is simultaneoulsy fascinating and terrifying.

    Love all the Laurs Ingalls Wilder food descriptions as well. I just recently read a wonderful book called “Stealing Buddha’s Dinner” that has a section honoring those very passages.
    The book: http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/842

  20. Mos Eisley Says:

    Forgive me for all the horrendous typos in my last post! Sorry.

  21. Dr. Bob Says:

    My first inclination was to say Narnia. I don’t know who I would be, but maybe Susan — we don’t know as much about her, so I would not be tied to any characteristics. And she was an archer — very cool. Maybe I would be Reepicheep or Aravis.

    Yes to Jo in Little Women, and to Pride and Prejudice. No to Alice in Wonderland (but my husband would be there) — a little too hallucinatory for me. I remember wanting to be in My Side of the Mountain. As I spent my entire childhood reading, there are many that I love. I think that I am more of an observer than participant. Prolly my very, very first book that I wanted to be in was, yes, Harold and the Purple Crayon. I loved that book.

  22. sideways721 Says:

    Did anyone think of Karana in Island of the Blue Dolphins?
    I would like to have experienced much of what she did, but not all of it.
    Still, a compelling character to live inside of.

  23. Dr. Bob Says:

    Absolutely, Sideways. I loved that book.

  24. patrickkaddiddlehopper Says:

    I would definitely be Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo. Redemption, Romance, Revenge, Rivalry, and Respite. The 5 r’s of any good story. Being betrayed by one of your best friends and having him take your soon to be fianc’e. Plus prison breaks are super sweet!

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