Have you ever read a book, thought it was terrific, remembered it fondly, finally re-read it and...it sucked? That's the work of the Suck Fairy.
Author Jo Walton (whose Farthing books I've read, btw) has a great essay from 2010 on the Suck Fairy at Tor.com. Walton says, "You can say that you have changed, you can hit your forehead
dramatically and ask yourself how you could possibly have missed the
suckiness the first time—or you can say that the Suck Fairy has been
through while the book was sitting on the shelf and inserted the suck."
I can recall reading Mists of Avalon with a book club years ago. I did not care for it at all. I had read The Once and Future King when I was a teenager. I knew what a good Arthurian novel was. I decided to re-read it to get the taste of Mists of Avalon out of my mouth. You guessed it. The Suck Fairy had been there. But according to Walton the Suck Fairy allows me to retain my happy memories, to remember "what’s good while not dismissing the newly visible bad."
There's a whole flock of re-reading fairies out there. Ever re-read a book and can't imagine how you missed the racism, sexism, or homophobia? That's right. Your book was visited by the Racism, Sexism, or Homophobia Fairies. After reading Louisa May Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Girl four years ago, I'm afraid to re-read Little Women. I suspect it will have been visited by the Message Fairy.
Walton says the Message Fairy often hits "children’s books or books read when you were a kid. Kids are really good
at ignoring the heavy-handed message and getting with the fun parts.
It’s good they are, because adults have devoted a lot of effort writing
them messages thinly disguised as stories and clubbing children over the
head with them."
Yeah, I'm really worried about re-reading Little Women.
Thanks to Facebook Friend Suzi Steffen for tipping me off about the Suck Fairy and directing me to Jo Walton's essay.