I first came to the world of Narnia well past my childhood, as an early 20-something poking about stacks at a book fair. I saw the cover of the edition I call my own now, a lion’s head burning out of a dark background, and remember thinking, “It’s about time.” I had grown up with the Children’s Television Workshop cartoon adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, never wanting a copy of the book until about seventh grade. That year, I was one of very few of my friends who didn’t get a chance to read about the Pevensies in school for class. Girls and boys talked at lunch about what Turkish Delight must taste like and how they wanted to be their favorite Pevensie, while I slogged through a book about a 13-year-old girl who kept making up excuses about how she lost her gym clothes because she was uncomfortable in her body. I didn’t want to read about my life—I wanted to escape it. Ten years after middle school, I found myself stretched out on my couch devouring the Narnia stories and not at all understanding why they felt so wonderful but so odd at the same time: why were there just as many girls as boys and yet the boys had all the fun, fighting battles and leading revolutions?
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