THE ENCHANTED PLACES by Christopher Milne
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An sensitively calibrated memoir by Christopher Robin Milne (the very same), now a bookstore manager in his fifties, in which he searches into his boyhood for the real child he remembers he was, and also considers the fictional Christopher Robin -- a manifestation, in a sense, of the child within Milne Sr's own life. So this is a double exposure-both ghostly and substantial. Milne remembers his first love, his nanny (who would never, like Alice in the poem, have cut him off with ""Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea""). He recreates the nursery warmth, country joys and pleasures, and two homes furnished by his mother with gaiety and charm. Mother had light and gifted hands, particularly in gardening, and father, wrestling with his Torquemada puzzles, had the brains. Christopher followed first one parent and then the other, accentuating, he hints, the nature of the couple's own partnership, each with his own inviolable preserves. There was indeed a Five Hundred Acre Wood, a Poohsticks bridge, a Galleons Lap, but could Eeyore's Gloomy Place have been Father's odds-and-ends bedroom, a dark and contrasting, opposite to the rest of the house? Milne remembers brief, unwelcome visitations from journalists, the hated identification (at school, at least) with the fictional Christopher Robin (""Finished saying your prayers yet?""). He traces with particular intensity his relationship with his father-from Nanny-dominated distance, through true companionship, to a falling away during early adulthood. And as for the real toys, now in a museum: ""...they are only toys...I wouldn't like a glass case that said, 'Here is fame'; and I don't need a glass case to remind me: 'Here was love.'

Pub Date: April 28th, 1975
Publisher: Dutton