When I was about six years old, I used to spend a lot of time at my grandmother’s house. There, she had VHS versions of what seemed to little me as every single Disney movie imaginable, and I would spend entire afternoons watching them. One of the movies that stole my heart back then was Beauty and the Beast. This is the movie that got me into reading from a very young age, and it has shaped my life up until now.
Thinking back on it now, over thirteen years later, I remember that I was fascinated with Belle as a whole. She wasn’t a blonde princess, for starters, so I finally found a Disney princess I could be like! However, what fascinated me most of all was how much she loved to read. I didn’t understand why, at first. Coming from a fairly literate family, I had seen plenty of books at that stage of my life: but all I could see were pages filled with words that were still too difficult for me to understand – how was it possible that she enjoyed this so much? I needed to find out.
Books instantly became a mystery I wanted to solve. I wanted to understand why people liked to read. I remember very well that my grandmother took me to a big supermarket not much later, and that’s where she bought me my first “real” book – and the magical world of reading unfolded right in front of me the second I started reading it. In the next few years, I dragged my dad along to the library with me as much as I could. I remember the thrill of reading in bed late at night, only quickly turning my lights off when mom came up the stairs. I finally understood why Belle loved to read so much – it was magical.
Yesterday, I went to see the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast with my best friend. In every single take on the story I’ve seen so far, there’s always this scene where Belle enters the Beast’s library and is completely blown away. When that scene played yesterday, I was instantly taken back to that time so many years ago, when I only just started to discover the magic of reading. I just couldn’t stop smiling (it probably looked kind of ridiculous), because if it hadn’t been for that one scene so many years ago, I might have never become the person I am today.
The best part of it all? Deep inside, I’m still six-year-old me, at the same time admiring Belle and wondering what the hell is up with her: after over a decade, I am still on a magical quest to unravel the many mysteries of reading and literature as a whole – and I have no plans to end that quest any time soon.
- L. Parole
Beauty and the Beast (Disney 1991) (until 1:42)
Beauty and the Beast (Disney 2017) (until 1:45)
Once Upon a Time (until 1:10)