Monday, June 9, 2014

The Scariest Book I Ever Read.

I was reflecting yesterday, whilst browsing a book store and searching for a birthday present for my 7 year old son, on the books I read as a child. I asked my wife if she could remember a title that scared her when she was growing up. She confessed that she couldn't remember a particular book and thought my question was a 'curious' one (whilst giving me a crooked frown).

For me, one title emerged from my memories that managed to make me shudder in that book store but, thinking about it now, I'm quite keen to track down a copy.
When the Wind Blows is a 1982 graphic novel, by British artist Raymond Briggs, that shows a nuclear attack on Britain by the Soviet Union from the viewpoint of a retired couple, Jim and Hilda Bloggs.

image credit -

Without resorting to Google to remind myself of the plot, the story follows this couple as they prepare themselves for an approaching nuclear holocaust and illustrates their thoughts, feelings and actions as they realize that an apocalypse seems inevitable.

I was 9 years old when it was first published and I can remember the Cold War paranoia that seemed to pervade the news at the time. The image of the eponymous mushroom cloud featured widely. Talk of nuclear holocaust was a fear that I was acutely aware of, even if I didn't fully understand it.

The school library had a copy of the book and I remember being simultaneously fascinated and terrified of it. I know it was the source of many nightmares and for years the taint of fear from that book stayed with me.

Today, the apocalyptic paranoia of that time seems a distant memory, and having remembered the existence of 'When The Wind Blows' now, I am keen to get a copy of it - if only to satisfy a certain nostalgic itch.

What about you? Is there a title from your childhood that scared you witless? I'm interested to know.


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