It has come. That time of life when ungrateful children feel the urge in their small shriveled hearts to mock that which we hold most dear.
That's the royal we, of course, because I am speaking as myself (as I all too often do). See, here's what happened.
I got my copy of Ice! Had I mentioned that Ice! had an exclamation point as part of its title? Well it does.
I was showing it off to Diana, who also has a penchant for the cheesy. We were bonding over our rueful affection for these ridiculous and yet loved and affecting books, when who should barge in but Chestnut. Who said (and I may be misquoting here, but you'll get the general idea) "Do you know what Mom really likes to read, the books that are terrible? These!" And she pulled out a much-loved stack of John D. MacDonald, specifically the Travis McGee novels.
I (of course) protested and defended Messrs. MacDonald and McGee, but she was brutal. "They're terrible! They're ridiculous! I've read them and they're awful!"
Readers, I know these books are not what people think of as stylishly written. And they have more than their fair share of off-putting sexism, homophobia, and other distressing marks of age. They're formulaic. But, but—I'm all for a critical eye, but I'm also for love. I love these books, I do.
Having written this down I am less torn-up about this. Of course Chestnut isn't going to be a fan of hard-boiled Florida detective novels written in the 1960s. Of course a tough guy doesn't read to her the same way he does to me. No matter. I can still read my books, and be happy.
And I know that in 25 years or so, her progeny will be shrieking similarly over her Clique books. Or Harry Potter. Or something that is now beloved, and will go (as is the way of all things, or at least most things) into inexplicable.
It's funny: she and her cohort hated The Catcher in the Rye too. But it didn't hit me as hard as the scorn for John D. MacDonald did. Why is that, I wonder?
4 thoughts on “Mockery”
Please. The ultimate insult hurled at me by The Teenage Boys is, “All you care about is books.” I’m not trying to “top” you, but it’s extremely deflating to live in a house where the stuff that keeps you going, keeps you sane, is perhaps the only constant is roundly mocked and disrespected, ON ALL COUNTS.
Now, I’m going to read some John D. MacDonald in solidarity with you.
By the way, where do you recommend that I start?
O my but that does sound extremely deflating. Though it is indeed a mark of greatness (yours) that it is hurled at you.
Where to start? I hardly know. Maybe the first, The Deep Blue Goodbye? Here is a smart long take on them: http://www.bookslut.com/mystery_strumpet/2005_04_005008.php
But whatever you read, know that we here are on your side, because all we care about are books as well.
I read my first Travis McGee book (Dreadful Lemon Sky) sometime in college/late h.s. when I had run out of my books from the library and was too poor to buy books. So I raided my Dad’s shelves and the proceeded to read every single one he had (many of them). Yes they are formulaic, and they were a bit too violent for me, but I too loved them.