All I want is to control anything and everything. But it's for everyone's good, can't they see that?
Case in point: salutary books. I try to make them work.
Things were tough for a certain someone I know last year. She was being teased and harassed by a boy in her class, a boy who was not so excellent at, um, controlling his body. Or his words. Or, you know, himself. The young lady in question has her own set of challenges, which include taking every teasing remark directly to heart, and more or less experiencing life as a person with out skin, ie: a person of raw nerve endings and unending sensitivities. So what did I do?
I came across a book, left in front of someone's home, called something along the lines of "Trouble in Third Grade," that, according to the back-cover copy at least, was the story of Jason and Jennifer. She couldn't stand him! He was the worst boy in the class! But now they're assigned an art project together! What will Jennifer do?!?!?!?!
I brought the book proudly to the person in question, and said "Here, look!" Ignored. "No, take a look, it's just like you and X!" Ignored. "Sounds pretty good, too. It's all about how they worked it out."
I dropped that book all over the house, and that book couldn't get arrested. No interest. No curiosity. NOTHING. Just more trouble between the person in question and X, and more heartache.
Now it's not like I thought this book would solve everything (not entirely anyway). And it's not like I want to be in charge of everything everyone else does (not entirely anyway). But this mystified me. I mentioned it to my husband, and said "But it's about what she's going through! Can't she SEE that?"
"Of course she can. That's why she's not reading it." Oh. Right.
What made the grade instead? Novelizations of iCarly. Sigh.
But you know, I started reading A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book (which, holy cow, is available entirely online right there it seems). It was exactly perfect for me, it coincided with everything everyone would ever think about me. And you know? I do like it. But I kind of enjoyed this a lot more. There's a lot to be said for moving outside yourself, I guess. And for letting people find their own way (I guess. No, I know. I really do.).
What did work for the young lady in question? This:
3 thoughts on “If the Shoe Fits, Run as Fast as Possible in the Other Direction”
I’ve been reading the Melendy books to my 6yo daughter all summer! Lovely!
My daughter was named, in part, after Elizabeth Enright my favorite children’s author.
It’s true. If you are, say, scared of dogs, reading “How Judy Learned How to Not Be Scared of Dogs” won’t sound appealing to you. You know? However, I probably would have recommended the same book at first, ha.