A Thing to “Read” With Your 14-Year-Old

Yeah, that's right, I put "read" in ironic quotation marks. Because people in my family regularly wrangle over whether it's reading or watching or—whatever. Consuming culture. Anyway, it's Homestuck.

I have to come right out and say that I am not involved in this. No, this is all Diana and her dad, aka Aragorn, aka Strider, aka etc, etc.

I'm not sure exactly how it happened. Except that Diana was reading Homestuck a lot, and exclaiming over it, and was there a direct question? An answer? I don't know much, except this: many evenings, when the homework is done, and the grownups are lolling on the couch in a post-dinner haze, the 14-year-old—an elusive creature extremely difficult to catch a sighting of in the wild, especially when "the wild" refers to anything outside her bedroom—will venture downstairs. She will sit next to her father, and she will say, "Hey, Dad, want to read Homestuck?"

And he'll say, "Sure I'll watch Homestuck."

And then they'll go back and forth a bit about whether it's reading or watching, and then they will both get into it, and strange bits of music will float up from the computer, and I will keep a safe distance away, so I don't ruin anything, and they will laugh.

Maybe you don't need anything like this. Maybe your 14-year-old likes to hang out on the couch with you all day while you read David Copperfield aloud to each other. Maybe your 14-year-old skips and laughs merrily in the bright sunny day while asking you about your childhood, or your dreams, or whether you need more help around the house. If this is you, and that is true, then I envy you.

But if you are the parent of one of these elusive 14-year-olds who have retreated, vampire-like, to their lairs, maybe you will try this? It works on lots of levels, because if you are a grown-up (maybe I mean, If you are a grownup like me), then you will have a very challenging time reading Homestuck on your own, because it won't make sense to you. You will need a helpful 14-year-old to make things clear. You can find them in darkened bedrooms. You will get to hang out with them, and both of you will laugh. It will be worth it.

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