The Best Medicine

As a direct result of a superhuman effort to get ready for my new teaching position (at the very last minute!), and after the intensity of the first three weeks of life in a second grade classroom, I found myself fighting a mean cold this week. I’d say the kids gave it to me, but I really think it came from the other teachers, all of whom seem to have it to varying degrees.

The kids were kind and sympathetic, and helped by making sure a box of tissues was close by for me. They were very sweet about listening even more carefully to instructions given in my poor, raspy voice. Monday and Tuesday after school, I came home and went to bed. That seemed to do the trick, because by Wednesday I was beginning to feel better, and my voice wasn’t so sick sounding when I did my Curriculum Night presentation to almost 27 sets of parents sitting in our small chairs.

But the best medicine of all was reading after I climbed into bed. So I finally finished The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill. It was scary enough to give me chills that weren’t related to my head cold!…and under normal circumstances, I would have read it very quickly, because it’s definitely a “can’t-put-it-down” kind of read. But due to the recent hectic pace of my life, it took me almost 2 weeks to finish it, and I really enjoyed the prolonged experience! It made the story even more suspenseful for me, I grew more attached to the main character than I might have otherwise, and it made the ending an even sadder one for me. I was anticipating a shock at the end, but not the sadness. Oh, Susan Hill…you’re wonderful! I’m so glad she has written a lot, because I’m going to start reading them all.

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21 thoughts on “The Best Medicine

  1. Gentle Reader

    You’ve inspired me–I’ll have to read Susan Hill some time soon!

    I’m fighting a cold, too. Also school-related. My toddler is transitioning into nursery school and I’m sitting there all day amongst the viruses. One of the teachers is sick, several of the kids, and now me, my husband, my middle child and my youngest. Oh, and our neighbor. Guess it’s going around!

    Your kids sound adorable–offering you tissues, how cute!

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  2. Kay

    Glad you are better, Robin. I hate drippy colds but guess there are worse things. How nice that you had a good book to read at the end of the day. Take care of yourself!

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  3. Deborah

    Robin, I put this book and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson at the top of my list of ghostly books. There was a PBS TV version of The Woman in Black which was very creepy! I’m surprised I don’t see this book mentioned more often.

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  4. Cath

    I can sympathise about your cold because I have one too. I hope you soon feel much better.

    Am so pleased you enjoyed The Woman in Black. It’s probably my favourite ghostly novel.

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  5. Robin

    Gentle Reader, I hope you’re feeling better. There’s a lot of it going around, and I’m afraid it’s inevitable that we all share the Fall cold.

    Thanks Kay. Taking some reading and recovery time was absolutely essential. I promised myself (and my husband) that in taking on this new teaching job this year, I would take better care of myself. Luckily, I didn’t have any Monday night or Tuesday night obligations, and my husband very sweetly fixed soup both nights for his ailing wife! He’s a keeper!

    Hi Deborah. I’d like to read The Haunting of Hill House! I’ve read other things by her, and really liked them, but I haven’t read this one. It sounds really good.

    Hi Framed. There are actually 2 proven cures for a head cold (at least in our family). The first one is to grab your favorite comforter, have plenty of tea and juice available, and watch the entire Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. If that’s not possible, then the other cure is to climb in bed and read and sleep as much as time allows.

    Sorry to hear you’ve got a cold, too, Cath. I hope you feel better soon! Susan Hill really helped take my mind of the misery of a cold.

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  6. Bookfool

    Okay, that did it. I just added The Woman in Black to my wish list. 🙂

    So sorry you were sick, but I’m glad you’re feeling better and that your students were so kind to you!! How sweet!

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  7. Booklogged

    Ohhhh, so sorry about the cold. Hope you’re well and back on your feet in no time. The stress you’ve been under is sure to have sapped your immune system. Have you ever tried Emergen-C? I swear by it. Won’t always prevent a cold, but I think it helps.

    I have Woman in Black on my Bookmooch wishlist. It’s been there awhile and nobodies giving their copy away so I may have to break down and buy it.

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  8. Tara

    I’m glad you’re feeling better! The children in your class sound very thoughtful. I read The Woman in Black earlier this year – and was also so saddened by the ending.

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  9. Robin

    Thanks for the suggestion, Booklogged. I’ll have to pick up a stash of Emergen-C for my next cold. You’re right about the immune system–too much going on and it was overstressed.

    Thanks, Tara. I should have been prepared for the ending, but I wasn’t and the sadness haunts me. This is a book that lingers…

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  10. Les

    I’ve yet to read anything by Susan Hill, but you’ve got my interest piqued now!

    Glad you had a quick recovery. It’s that time of year, isn’t it? I’m surprised I haven’t caught a cold working at Barnes & Noble. Lots of germs on those books! Guess it really does pay to wash my hands frequently. Stay well!

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  11. iliana

    Oh Robin I hope this week is much better with the second graders and that your cold is gone by now!
    I loved The Woman in Black! I was also fortunate enough to go see it done on stage at one of our local theaters.

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  12. Robin

    Thanks, Maggie. I’m much better this week.

    Hi Les, This was my first Susan Hill book, and I’ve found that it sticks with you after you finish it! She’s written so many books…I wonder if all of them do that?

    Thanks, Bellezza. I’m feeling so much better, and am pleased that I was able to fight it off so “fast.” I’ll have to build up a whole new resistence to these 2nd grade germs!

    Thanks, Iliana. I am feeling so much better this week. Oh, I would love to see The Woman in Black performed in a theater!

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  13. heather (errantdreams)

    I’m definitely making sure this is on my wish list.

    I hope you feel better soon! And it’s great to hear the kids were so sweet. 🙂

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  14. Robin

    Thanks, Heather. I’m feeling much better this week, and my energies have returned. It’s an awfully good book and a fast read.

    Hi Nicola, our TBR lists are getting mighty long!

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  15. CoversGirl

    The Woman in Black is a book? Now that I know that, it’s going straight on the must-read list. I saw the stage version last year and loved it; I was on the edge of my seat, and occasionally jumping out of it! And that ending still lingers in my mind.

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