Red Fern:

After lunch, our teacher would read us a story. I’m not sure if her goal was to settle us after thirty minutes of unsupervised anarchy, or if we were supposed to be learning how to follow a multi-chapter story over the course of several weeks. At this point however, I was reading an entire young reader novel each evening after homework, dinner, and chores. The first two novels she read to us were utterly forgettable to me, and when she began reading us the classic “Where the Red Fern Grows” I expected it to be no different. So as to avoid spoiling the story for any of you who have never read the book, and were thereby subsequently robbed of your childhood, I will skip over the many emotions I felt over the following weeks, as the story slowly unfolded, a few pages at a time each day after lunch. As the teacher read the final pages of the story, tears welled up in my eyes, and soon it became clear to me that there was no point in trying to hide it. The tears ran down my cheeks and splashed on my desk, my body shuddered with emotion, and as she closed the book, I collapsed on my desk and sobbed uncontrollably. Around the class, I could hear other girls start to cry along with me. The teacher and classroom sat uncomfortably for what must have been thirty minutes before the teacher softly asked “Would anyone like to talk about how they feel about this story?” The silence was only broken as the girl sitting in the far corner resumed her heartbroken sobbing.