The Second Time Ain't Always Fine


Lately, a sad fact of life has been hitting me hard...the second time ain't always fine. I think this in regards to many things, books and movies and shows in particular.


Heartbreaking, right? Things that I loved once when I was younger just aren't as great the second time around. This realization struck me when I picked up one of my favorite books from age thirteen and was shocked that I once loved it. But it really struck home when I went to see Mamma Mia! on Broadway earlier this month.

I saw Mamma Mia with my sister, my mom, and my aunt for the first time for my thirteenth birthday. We all absolutely adored it. Now, I saw it at age eighteen, about eight days before my nineteenth birthday for free with my college because I was housing a prospective student overnight. I can't say I enjoyed it. On a scale of one to ten, ten being awesome and one being "shield your eyes, children!" I would give it a 4.5 rating. It's the same story, the same dancing and songs, but the acting and my expectations have been depleted greatly. It doesn't matter how awesome ABBA is, it can't save a sinking ship.


And it got me thinking...why am I so surprised that this sucked? In regards to books the answer is obvious, when I was thirteen my taste in books was not refined. I was not reading the types of books I read now and I didn't understand what created a good book. Now I do, thus the shock of books that once meant so much to me. I'm honestly a little scared to reread other old favorites for fear of losing the happiness and love that I initially associated with them.

I can't believe I was once so non-bookish and naive.
In regards to Mamma Mia! I am absolutely lost. I called my mother upon returning to my dorm room and we both reminisced about how absolutely awesome our cast was and how we both loved it. Certainly it wasn't naivety that made me love the show if my mother, over forty years old at the time, adored it just as much as I did. What changed? I'm going to sit here and hope that it is the fact that it's nearing the end of its Broadway run and is on its way out, so the acting and talent isn't what it once was. 

So now I've been sitting here and just thinking...is re-reading worth it sometimes? Or re-watching and re-seeing? There are times where I have been utterly disappointed. I mean...Mamma Mia! Here we go again! But then there have been times that I've been just as blown away as I was the first time I read a book, like The Book Thief, or seen a movie, like Catching Fire.

What do you think contributes to this trend? Age and naivety creating blinders on our eyes or a big case of "I loved you more than I should have" syndrome? Please comment below with your thoughts, I'm super curious. Do you think it's worth rereading books that once meant so much, though your opinions may be tainted now that you are a more experienced reader?

But, whatever you think this is, I know one thing is for certain...Though the Broadway show sucks, at least I still have the movie masterpiece.

Yum!

13 comments:

  1. I know for shows and movies a simple answer could just be excitement. The second time I went to see Catching Fire, I wasn't as enamored by it, and I think a lot of it had to do with my excitement in seeing it the first time, and all of its newness. A second reflection made it easier to distance myself from my fangirlishness and notice the flaws. The same can be said for other movies and television shows, so I don't think this is solely because Catching Fire is an adaptation.

    When it comes to book I've read in the past, I think the simple answer for a LOT of books I loved was just that I had never seen anything like them before. A ton of the books I loved would be troubling to me if I read them as an adult and as a seasoned reader, but they presented ideas that my 13 year old brain hadn't even dreamed up yet.

    Also, with books, there's a lot of 'in-the-moment' feels while reading. Some books hit you at just the right time and you love them, but they wouldn't work at another point in your life. Possibly that is the same for TV and cinema, but of course I think reading is a much more intimate experience.

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    1. I understand that, but I don't think CATCHING FIRE was nearly as flawed as THE HUNGER GAMES, thus it was like ten times more enjoyable.

      Definitely! I used to adore WINGS by Aprilynne Pike and now I'm just like "...welp." in regards to it. I think it's because it was my first fairy book. I had never seen it before and was enamored by the idea, but now I'm sort of lost. I mean, she can only drink sprite or else she'll change color and some crap with photosynthesis? A little weird.

      I think you hit the nail on the head with the in the moment feels. A book can SUCK and it can mean so much more because of the in the moment feels. I gave IGNITE ME a higher rating then I thought it deserved because I was enraptured in the moment, and in the end, I suppose that's what matters since a lot of people don't re-read.

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  2. Great topic—I definitely agree. Honestly, this even applies to Harry Potter for me. I still love cooks 4-7, but I don't really like 1-3 anymore. The style of books 1-3 is very middle grade. Understandably, the target audience for those is children. But I'm no longer a child and now when I try to read 1-3, I find them to be too simple.. too childish.

    It breaks my heart because I love Harry Potter overall, but I hate that I no longer enjoy reading 1-3 like I used to.

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    1. The first few Harry Potter books are very middle-gradeish. I understand that, but it's the start of an amazing series and you can't get to book four without books 1 - 3.

      I'm sorry you've experienced this :( I understand where you're coming from, but I can't say that Harry Potter will ever become a chore for me.

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  3. I love this post. But on the other hand I too hate when things aren't as good the second time around. It's so sad. Then again, somethings never change. Those are the things that are truly your favorites, the things that stand the test of time and age without loosing their awesomeness. I've never seen Mamma Mia live, so I can't weigh in on that, but I am going to go see Rock of Ages for the second time and I hope I still love it!

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    1. I hope you still love Rock of Ages too!

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  4. I think, at least for me, the second time around I'm more likely to notice mistakes or flaws or pick up on inconsistencies. I've also got higher expectations going in, since the first time I loved it so much, so it has to be at least as good as I remember, or I'll be a little disappointed.

    I definitely think there's value in re-reading (or re-watching) though, since some things get better the second time around - whether it's a detail you missed, the hint at what's to come or the fact that your preexisting knowledge of the ending let's you see clues you might have otherwise overlooked!

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    1. I think that you have a very good point with the noticing inconsistencies thing!

      It's really a half and half deal if you ask me. Some of it works out and some of it doesn't. It depends if you're willing to give it a chance or not.

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  5. I definitely agree with this! There have been movies that I LOVED when I was younger but when I watch it now, I don't enjoy it that much. I don't generally re-read books, I'm not sure why, I've never been a re-reader but when I do, I don't generally enjoy the book any less :)

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    1. I can only re-read certain books for fear of them losing their luster, but I noticed that was a really strange habit of mine...thus the curiosity to create this discussion post!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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  6. I am a huge re-reader. I re-read a lot, and sometimes I love a book that I didn't before, or sometimes I don't like a book I loved before. Sometimes, I am blown away just as I was the first time. I think there are occasions when it comes down to age difference, but a lot of times, for me at least, I think it has more to do with mood and emotion and feeling. I tend to be able to read a book I loved as a youngin, and read that book with that frame of mind, reminiscing in a way. So, I understand what you are saying, absolutely. Sometimes things lose their awesome as you get older. But a lot of times, the magic is still there. And Mamma Mia the movie? MASTERPIECE! I love that movie.... I think I will watch it soon!

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    1. This. Just this. This comment sums up this discussion post beautifully!

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