I want a portal, not a mirror

I want a portal, not a mirror: why I love fantasy books
Published by Sofia on 2023-12-01 in Nerd
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Some time ago a friend of mine asked me why I like reading fantasy books so much. I gave him the answer I always give, but then I stopped to think. Very often so-called "normal people" do not understand what we find in unreal stories, where magical and strange creatures live, where things that could never happen to us happen. Today I will answer this question.
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illustration by Radioimmaginaria
Hello nerdy and non-nerdy friends!

I'm Sofia and I love fantasy books. Sorry for not introducing myself earlier, but I wanted to have a bit of a mysterious and cool start.

I'm here to tell you about my experience as a lover of magic and 'unreality'. I don't think all people who like fantasy books have experienced the same things, so if you're curious, ask your friends. Maybe they'll have the same ideas as me, or they'll give you a completely different explanation.

When I was little, around elementary school, I wasn't treated very well by my classmates. Ok, yes, let's say I was being bullied. The point is that I didn't like the reality I was in and, more often than not, I wanted to escape. It's not very easy to pack a suitcase and go live alone in another city when you're seven years old, but there was one thing I could do. I could read.
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illustration by Sofia A
So I started. I read everything, at first it was the books I found in the library, like "Valentina", "School of Dance", "Little Women", etc. It was nice to think about someone else's problems, but it was still too real. But then, something happened.

One day my father gave me a book. Nothing strange there, since I was devouring them by now. But that book had something different; there was a fairy on the cover. Okay, there were also two girls, two twins, then the title and many other things. But what really caught my attention was the fairy herself, a point of light, followed by a trail of magical dust.

That book was "The Secret of the Twins"; the first of the Fairy Oak saga. A fantasy book, where the protagonists are witches with magical powers who live in a fairy village. With them I went on my first adventure.
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illustration by Sofia A
It didn't matter how badly I was treated at school or that I was excluded from games. Whenever I could, I read and escaped from my reality. I took the book to school and at every break I took it out and read, ignoring what was happening around me. I was finally free.

Several years later the pandemic broke out and we were quarantined. In the meantime I had found some real friends and I was also doing well at school and in reality. But the chaos that reigned during the coronavirus era, all that fear and uncertainty, terrified me.

Every now and then I got lost in the newspaper websites, among the articles that talked about the ever-increasing numbers of infected people, and the weight of reality crushed me. More and more books were coming out that talked about our situation. Teachers made us read articles about Covid and what was happening. It was too much.
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illustration by Sofia A
There I learned the truth. I didn't need a mirror; I didn't want to see reality as it was, read a book only to find my reflection before my eyes, see everything that was happening to me. I just wanted to escape. I didn't want a mirror. I wanted a portal.

Books help me escape, relax, fly. When I read I feel like I can do anything; defeat evil, save the world, become the heroine of my story. Fantasy books give me hope.