scary books. Then, there is the next group, people who like to read in general and just roll with
it when a scary part comes along as they continue
on with the story.
And then there are those who, when something scary
(or maybe not even scary, maybe more like a small conflict) happens,
they just have to stop.
Chestnut and I were reading The Trumpet of the Swan. We'd been having a really good time with it. She just loved it. E.B. White is
such a bold writer, so unafraid to go out there with the magic, to
blend it with the world, to stretch as far as he wants. Louis the Swan
was at camp up in Ontario, playing bugle calls for camp Kookooskoos.
Chestnut and I were actually in a (momentarily) terrible situation, in
the emergency room, and reading this was more comforting than I can
really convey. And then we got to THAT PART.
Do you know what THAT PART is? It's when Louis realizes that he needs
to slit the webbing between his toes so he can use the trumpet's
That was the end of that. We just had to STOP.
Earlier that same day, in a box of books sent to me FREE from Scholastic, I got this:
it does make a difference, I think, to get a book free, and soon I will
take the time to write up some specific guidelines about books I get so
you know how biased and unbiased I am, but for the moment, just know
that I had a box of free books, and I dipped into this one.
It's about a girl who hates to read, because she never knows how a book
is going to end. And she's afraid they are going to end badly.
And then she finds one book, and it looks
good to her. She begins it then…uh oh, it starts to seem like the ending is going to be bad. And the whole book watches as she undergoes an all-too-believable internal struggle.
the thing: I really liked the book. It was sweet and serious and a bit
quirky, it spoke clearly of a very real-seeming kid with that
all-too-rarely-acknowledged reality that she has an interior life
her parents don't quite know about. I liked it, it was very touching. And it made me think, of course, of my dear Chestnut, who suffers through all these same struggles. But I am not certain: what would a kid think?
Do they have enough self-awareness—or lack of it—to enjoy it?
I hope so. I plan to get Chestnut on it as soon as we can.
I don't know, because here's the thing: I
can't quite believe this, but it's true. Last night, just a few nights after the
scary ER visit, and the specter of Louis's foot surgery, she announced, against all my past experience of her feelings about books, that she wanted to see to
see if she could manage The Trumpet of the Swan again.
And you know what? Louis is staying in the Ritz-Carlton now, eating watercress sandwiches. My favorite part. She's glad we kept going.