Some people don't reread books; but I do, sometimes dozens of times. Sometimes I don't get anything "more" out of them except the same pleasure I had the first time, with an added dose of contentment because it's familiar. Comfort food for the brain. The bookwormish equivalent of mashed potatoes. (I know someone who says it's a waste of time to reread, given all the good books out there. We aren't quite friends.) But other times, especially if it's a book I read years ago, rereading provides me with a sense of how much I've changed. And as I made my way through the first few chapters of The French Lieutenant's Woman, I wondered just how much I'd let go over my head, back when I was twenty, in the interest of pursuing the main plot of the story. It's intriguing from the beginning ... who is this unhappy woman standing in the wind? What happened to her? And how will Charles be affected by her? But the sideways references to Marx's Das Kapital, to the convulsive politics following the repeal of the Corn Laws, to the social and economic implications of a breach of promise suit? These are all things I learned about ten years later, in grad school, while I was studying Victorian literature. I have a feeling when I first read this novel (spurred, no doubt, by wanting to impress my boyfriend who was five years older than I and seemed so very sophisticated), I was like my son Kyle the first time he saw Nemo, missing all the wink-wink, nudge-nudge jokes that made me laugh as I sat beside him on the couch. And I find myself winking at my younger self now.