The 13 Clocks was once one of my very favorite books.
I remember a blurb for The Clocks . . . maybe one of the original blurbs, which said:
“Everybody has always wanted to love a Princess.
Everybody has always wanted to be a Prince.”
Of course, there are plenty of people who have never wanted either of those things, but hear me out.
Maybe I’m just more jaded today, about the world and about myself, but it recently occurred to me (after reading it to my son), that it just wouldn’t be the same if I was reading it to a daughter. The object of the hero’s quest was a princess, who wasn’t a character at all, just a plot device. I know there are many shades and nuances to what some readers would say is necessary or desirable in a “strong female character” . . . but Princess Saralinda was particularly extreme in how passive and helpless she was. You could practically get away with calling her a prop.
After having loved the story for such a long time, it’s very hard to describe how sad and demoralizing it was to recognize this. It felt like a childhood friend had died, shortly after I’d missed a chance to meet them and “catch up”.
But of course, the root of it wasn’t an overwhelming sadness… it was a twinge of shame, at finding out that I wasn’t quite as open-minded as I’d believed.
Or maybe, I’ve just widened my scope over time. But even as a little boy, I never wanted to be a Prince (which always seemed to me would be awfully boring).
I wanted to be the Golux. . . I make things up, you know.