The Forgotten Door from Mary

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I don’t know if anyone will be familiar with this book, but at the age of 8, I ordered this book from the Scholastic Book Club, and in hindsight I think it informed my entire ethos and belief set in life, although I didn’t come fully into myself until not so many years ago. I’m 58 now. It is a short sci-fi novel about a young teen boy from another planet, a planet of peace, and loving familial and community bonds, where there is no evil, no war, no lying and peaceful coexistence between human and animal species. The boy, Little Jon, trips and falls while stargazing with a group of families and tumbles through an ancient and supposedly defunct door; a portal to another world: Earth (in the 1950s). He is injured and amnesiac and taken in by a good and kind family, the Beans, who try to help him return home once he remembers and reveals his origins. But along the way he encounters the ugly side of humanity: lies, meanness, bigotry, cruelty to animal species, etc. and is dismayed and can’t understand why people would act in such a way. I have felt his pain and bewilderment at man’s cruelty to man and beast, as well as our disregard for our amazing and beautiful world my whole life. My political leanings, eschewing of animal product use and choice of friends and companions reflect the intense desire to go to Little Jon’s dream world of peace and love, an impossible fantasy, and one which I now know will never be possible to bring about here in my, nor likely many, lifetimes. I still have my original third grade copy of this book on my bookshelf, as well as a second copy for other people to read because my precious original is quite dog-eared from multiple readings. I’ve tried to read it to my granddaughters, but they find it slow and boring and don’t understand the deep sadness and great hope of the story. It’s a sorrow to me that no one will likely read this fantastic short novel after my generation. It’s truly a treasure to me.

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