Saturday, January 18, 2014

32 Books: Chapter 5: Everyone Was Right

It takes almost no time to  fall in love with every deliberately carved intricately beautifully flawed character in Book #3.

Before I finish the first chapter a little bell of longing rings in my stomach. 

I wished I could share this book with my daughter.

The only book I’ve asked her to read was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I checked it out when I was 8, and have read it 1,000 times since.

Zoe didn’t find the book an attractive alternative to some pretty little bitches or whatever series she was reading. 

Since then, I’ve left her alone when it comes to books and authors and all that.

She reads a lot, I read a lot, but we don’t cross book-paths, not since our Barney days together.

And anyway, what kind of mother could ask her daughter to willingly walk into THIS story, knowing it would make her cry?

I didn’t mention the book to her or to my Mom or anyone else who could distract me from doing anything but reading it and reading it and it only just kept getting smarter and more beautifully awesomely delightful.

Halfway through the book I couldn’t take it anymore, so I called out to my daughter who was just on the other side of the room, supervising her brother’s attempt at creating an indoor weapons firing range for himself with Christmas ornaments and such.

Zoe, this book is a book about a girl who deeply loves a book. And I love books and I love THIS book Zoe. It’s SO good!

Zoe stands up and covers her hand with her mouth.

Mom, WHAT are you reading?

I hold up the book.

My daughter steps closer and reads the title.

You’re reading THAT book? OH MOM…. She backs away, eyes wide in shock, hand still covering her mouth.   That’s the book with Augustus, right? RIGHT MOM??

I nod. This is my NEW favorite book and my NEW favorite author.

I am sure of this already, not even knowing yet how the book will end and what pain will demand to be felt in exchange for a book shaped field trip to this particular castle in the sky.

Mom, he’s MY favorite author. I’ve read everything by him. You gave me one of his books for my birthday, it’s in my room. Hold the book up I need a picture for my friends.

 I  do as I’m told, then sit quietly while she send it to her friends.

You can totally take us when it opens, it’s coming out as a film, you know that, right?

I nod my head.

This book is soooo good. The movie has to be good, it has to be or we will cry and throw tomatoes at the screen and never be happy again.

Zoe leans over the sofa and hugs my head. I’m not going to tell you how it ends, but you’re going to cry.

She stands there over me and so I keep looking at her, waiting for her to finish what she’s going to say.

READ IT! NOW! She commands and backs away, falling into the cavernous invisible rooms full of friends that hive together inside her phone.

A new train of thought crinkles across my mind.

My daughter has been reading sophisticated powerful literature while I’ve been watching Real Housewives, American Horror Story and TeenMom. 


If this book made my daughter cry – and it must have, I just know it must have - she never discussed it with me.

Wait. Maybe she did.

If she did, I didn’t pay enough attention, I didn’t’ really hear her.

Knowing that she’s read this book makes me see her in a different light. 

 Before I read another page I tweet my student, “Thank you, you’ve given me so much more than a book.”

After that, I delete Twitter and Facebook from my phone, hugged a pillow to my chest and finished the book before 8pm.

They were all right.

I cried.