Santa brought me this book when I was 10. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it. I know the first pages backwards – I don’t actually need a copy to begin. They were not railway children to begin with. I don’t suppose they had ever thought about railways, except as a means of getting to Maskelyne and Cook’s, the Pantomime, Zoological Gardens, and Madame Tussaud’s . When I was 16 I wrote the beginning of a screenplay of The Railway Children, because I thought the existing adaptations were okay, but they missed something of the soul of the book.
I was also a daddy’s girl growing up, and this book really pivots on the love children bear for their daddy. I still tear up when Bobbie cries Daddy. (Oh, heck, I’m tearing up now.)
This is what I turn to if I can’t sleep. I open on any page dive into the familiar story. I don’t have to worry about marking the page when I drop off or getting so gripped in needing to know what happens that I wake up rather than get sleepy. This is my book equivalent of an old favourite comfy pair of jeans. My book best friend – always there, always what I need, known inside out.