Thursday, April 22, 2010

Influential Book: The Phantom Tollbooth

Reading thuRsday

For  me, The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster was an early experience with a something surreal that said more to me than the real.

Even as a child, I knew that the story was about abstractions, but that didn't stop it from being a hyper-real experience. I was there with Milo as he conducted the chromatic orchestra and saw the vivid hues of the proper sunrise and well as the unreal colors when the orchestra got out of control. And even though I was on-board 100% with the closing message of finding the wonder in the world around us, the melancholy I felt when Milo left Rhyme and Reason and drove back past the toll booth was lightened by the hope that I might receive a toll booth in the mail one day.

Published in 1961, it might come off as a bit too didactic by current standards. But that doesn't stop the book from having a cherished place as a classic in my personal library.


While looking up the references, I came across a note that Warner Brothers is developing a remake of the Phantom Tollbooth. And a plea on the Normality Restored blog for Hollywood to leave this one alone. I say, "amen."

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net