This book is gentle and flowing. Filled with magic and conflict that's not overly magical or directly confrontational. It's about a girl, working her way through life and escaping into the books she's reading both for entertainment and to learn, decipher, and cope with the world around her.
So they tell you not to judge a book by its cover, but on the back of my jacket for Among Others there's a quote that reads "It speaks directly and intimately to anyone who has ever loved book sand used them to light the way out of a difficult childhood" (Robert Charles Wilson), which tells me the book was written for me. Or written by someone who would understand me. And that quote is truth.
So when I start to read a book that has been described as "semi-autobiographical" I believe it. The jacket inset makes it seem harder, faster, more concrete than the story is. Everything I've read by Jo is gentle, and this book is no exception. A good portion of the book has references to the books she was reading at the time (a lot of classical greco-roman stuff and a lot of sci-fi and fantasy). The greco-roman, I had down (it was written long ago, and it's not the most popular of genres to keep cranking stuff out in), I loved reading it, and I had fun musing how the generational gap meant that my childhood was formed by different books, which probably taught me some of the same things. It also made me appreciate books that shaped me then, and how they could shape a child vs how an experienced adult would feel about them. This book isn't just a great book, wonderfully written, it also teaches you a new love for books, a new way to appreciate them, but not in any sort of heavy-handed fashion.
And if anything, I've added another whole batch of books to the TBR pile. I think it's brilliant.