It really wears a woman down to have written nearly 40,000 words on a book and realize she's going to have to do some revising before she moves on. The Durand Cousins came to a screeching halt over a week ago, and while I have some work in mind for it, I haven't been able bring myself to do much beyond opening a new file and starting a new spreadsheet.
I'm going to have to go away for a few days to get over this.
Actually, the trip was already planned. Serendipitously, as it turns out, since I'm feeling frazzled and this is Harry Potter Weekend and probably a good time to travel. It's probably a good time to go to the movies and the mall, too. Millions of people are going to be indoors reading.
In honor of the event, I'm going to say something good about Harry. Okay. Here goes.
A couple of weeks ago, a bookseller at one of my listservs told a story about a woman who came into his store looking for a book for her 6- or 7-year-old grandchild. When he brought her a book appropriate for that age, the woman said, oh, no, that wouldn't do. Too many pictures. Her grandchild was reading Harry Potter. By herself. She needed something like that. And thus this child was being hurried out of the early reading experience. It wasn't a real positive story.
Here's the thing, though. Adults were hurrying kids out of the early reading experience long before Harry Potter was even a gleam in J.K. Rowling's eye. Back when the Gauthier boys were little darlings, it wasn't uncommon for the mothers of their classmates to talk about their second grade child who was reading Jurassic Park or to explain that their gifted one (meoooow) didn't read children's books. I knew one kid back then who started reading Star Trek novels when he was in second grade. It was cool to have a fifth or sixth grade child who read John Grisham.
I have no problem with any of those books or authors. And I am aware that children are supposed to grow up and into adult books. But, as I keep saying, I believe very strongly that we all read looking for communion or connection with others, particularly with others like ourselves. When young children are hurried out of children's books, they miss out on reading about people their age who face experiences they, themselves, face, in order to read adult books about grown-ups who face experiences the child reader won't be encountering for years. (Or maybe ever in the case of Star Trek novels.) I'm not suggesting kids should never read an adult book. I just think kids' books are important for kids. It's good for them to read them.
Which brings us to Harry P. Because adults read Harry Potter, because adults like him and approve of him, they think it's just fine for their kids and grandkids to read him and other kids' books like his.
To make a long story short (yeah, I know, it's too late for that), Harry Potter has made it okay for kids to read kids' books.
And now I must go pack for my trip. Happy reading, everybody.