Surely you've experienced this: you return to a childhood haunt, read a favourite book from grade four, watch a classic movie, and none measure up to how you remember them. That primeval tree in the park, rising so high above you - how did it come to shrink with the years? Or that movie with all the witty one-liners? Seems pretty silly now. How reassuring then when a return is better than the original journey!
Such was the case when I re-read Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth. With fond memories of being read it after lunch by my grade six teacher, I was anxious to see how it held up. Fortunately, it has lots to offer the adult reader. Yes, there is a grand adventure through The Lands Beyond, but there is also clever wordplay that enlivens Juster's themes of education and knowledge.
So, if you're tired of serious and bleak adult literature, perhaps its time for a return to a place that is just as wonderful as you remembered it.