The novel, Reading in the Dark, is written by Seamus Deanne. This book is written from the viewpoint of a little boy who explains the episodes of his life as he grows up. Apparently, Deanne said in an interview with the Irish Times, that the accounts in the story are taken from his own family along with the other families in his neighborhood in Derry, Northern Ireland. As I read the book, I didn’t think it was a true story, but presumed it was fictional. I think I thought this because it was all about hauntings and ghost stories and it didn’t strike me as being a true account someone’s life. After I read it, I found out that all of the accounts in the story are true, and it changed the way that I evaluated at the book. I now saw the book as the author’s way to explain himself and let the reader know where he is coming from, rather than just any fictional story. I think that he stresses how the episodes in his early life really effected him and ultimately resulted in him becoming a writer.
Before I realized the author was the narrator of the book it was not as personal and I didn’t feel so much for the narrator. However, when I found out he was writing about himself it became more personal and it gives the reader a real sense of what his life was like while he was growing up.
The book points out in various ways that the narrator was not like the other kids in the story. He was always associating with adults rather then socializing with kids his own age. The only time that he went out with kids his own age it ended up in a disaster, Irene’s boyfriend punched him. This event discouraged him even more from socializing with kids his own age. Several chapters of the book were devoted to the narrator hearing stories from various adults such as Katie, his grandfather and Joe. These are stories that are not just told to anyone and the reader gets a sense that the people telling the narrator the stories see something different in him. They tell him the stories as oppose to someone else for a reason. The narrator enjoys hearing these stories and is very intrigued by them. This indicates that the author always had the potential to be a writer because his interests and thoughts are different from most of the kids his age.
All of these different stories of family affairs, hauntings and ghosts had a major effect on the narrator and possible encouraged him to be a writer. The narrator was told all of this “secret” information and he had to learn at a very young age how to deal with it. For example the story his grandfather told him about Tony Mcllhenny and Eddie and how it related to his mother and Katie. The narrator was now faced with the decision to keep this information to himself, not letting his mother, father or Katie know that he knew. This was very hard on him and really effected the relationships within his family from then on. I think this is probably another reason he began writing. He kept so much information inside for so long and writing was probably a major release for him.
In conclusion, all of the people in the narrator’s childhood, his family’s history and the stories he was told all effected him greatly and were a major explanation for him becoming an author. I believe that is the central message in Reading in the Dark.