Gaining Perspective by Reading Fiction


Source: The Princess Bride

“When I was your age, television was called books.” 
― William Goldman, The Princess Bride

In thinking about what I am passionate about, I immediately thought of my long love affair with books and reading fiction, having just finished a book and a book club this week. There is not much I get excited about more than a fresh new book waiting for me in my library. Fiction books are a form of healthy escapism for me. Call me old school in this age of multi-media, but reading provides a healthy outlet to me more than TV or other media outlets.

Reading allows me to unwind in a unique way where I can access my creativity and also feel rejuvenated.  If I find a really good, engaging fiction book, I find myself feeling like the characters in the book, imagining what they are seeing in vivid colors, and playing and living out the characters’ adventures. I can pretend I am on a secret mission in another country or rendered mute by the beauty of the scenery described in a book.

In giving me a healthy space from my reality, reading often helps me gain perspective.  I love this quote because it promotes our human tendency to engage in fantasies!  “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality.  It’s a way of understanding it.” (Lloyd Alexander).  Also, the following quote resonated in the ways we can connect with what we are reading: “It’s not irrelevant, those moments of connection, those places where fiction saves your life. It’s the most important thing there is.” (Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book)

The healthy power of transporting yourself to those worlds where we can fantasize is similar to the work we can do in some expressive therapies at BPAR.  It allows us to access different realms of possibilities and explore within ourselves, without the bounds of reality, in a healthy and safe manner.

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?…If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Written by KC Craig, LICSW
Boston Post Adoption Resources

About KC Craig, LICSW

KC Craig, LICSW, is a clinician at Boston Post Adoption Resources. To read her bio, please visit BPAR's Team page.