Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Outsiders Stole My Child's Innocence - And That's Okay

What was the first “adult” book you read?
And by adult I don’t mean x-rated, but that first book that wasn’t about Ramona Quimby or Superfudge. That first book to address adult themes and where terrible things happened to the characters you loved.
As the school year drew to a close, my oldest daughter came home and told me her class was reading The Outsiders. Uh-ho, I thought. Here it comes. My tender-hearted eighth-grade child is reading her first not-so happy book. I smiled, told her how that book was branded into my brain forever, but kept mum.
The next day I asked her what part she was at, and she told me how they were at the movies. Then she gushed about how Johnny was her favorite. “He’s so adorable.” And yes, my child gushes.
Ack! What do I say now?! Do I warn her about what is to come, or do I let her experience the joys and pain when reading a book that sucks you in and makes you care about the characters?
I said nothing. Just smiled again, and immediately posted my quandary on Facebook like a good mother does.
But still, I said nothing, for that is the joy and beauty of reading. Becoming immersed in an author’s world, falling in love with a character and crying when horribleness befalls them. By spoiling the ending, I would have taken away the awe of discovery. Of riding the emotional wave the author had set her on.
Books draw us in and capture us in ways movie and television do not. They move and inspire us down to our soul because we can remember where we were as we read the words that changed us. The feel of the paper beneath our fingers as we turned the page to keep going. How we stayed up till four am because we had to know what happens next. How could I as a mother and an author take that away from her?
I couldn’t. So I waited. And the day came. Yes, she was sad. But she loved the story, and it was also the first time I saw her sit for hours on end and read a book. Score for literature!
Reading is magical. Books are magical. May your next bit of magic be a one-click or bookstore away.
Happy reading and until next time y’all! Until next time!

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