My Son’s New Favorite Book
Our fourteen-year-old son started reading when he was four. Before long, he’d polish off a dozen chapter books before dinner. His teachers complained that he had his nose stuck in a book while they were teaching. He still reads that voraciously, only now his fare is found in the adult section of the library (while I still linger in the children’s section).
Our twelve-year-old son is not an avid reader. He’s happy to peruse the latest Sports Illustrated for Kids or breeze through a comic book. When we take him to the library, he checks out DVDs. That said, he’s read a couple novels that made an impact because when he does read novels, he immerses himself wholly and completely in the stories.
Once, when he was sick, he read My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett in one five-hour stretch and loved it.
Another time, he read Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan and declared it his favorite book.
So, when I got my advanced reading copies of my new novel, As If Being 12 ¾ Isn’t Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President!, I had low expectations of our younger son’s enthusiasm.
Our older son tore through it in a couple hours. “It’s really good -- way better than the stuff you usually write.” And he was off to dive into an adult thriller.
Our younger son held my book in one hand while he spooned cereal with the other. He did this for a few days, telling me each time what page he was up to and what was happening. But mostly, he spent his days playing video games, watching TV and shooting hoops in the driveway.
Then, the other night, his light was on waaaaaay past bedtime.
When I peeked in his bedroom, he was slouched in a chair, eyes trained on my book. My book! I could see he had only a handful of pages left. Without lifting his eyes from the page, he held up a hand as if to say, “Don’t even think of interrupting me now.”
I closed the door.
Several minutes later, he burst from his room and tore into the living room, where hubby and I were reading.
“That was the greatest book ever!” He stood in front of me. “I love Vanessa. Why does she have to be made up? I want her to be real.” Then his eyes opened wide. “Can you write a sequel? Please?” He stepped closer. “Now?”
I thanked him, tousled his hair and kissed him goodnight.
My novel’s release is still seven months away. I have no idea what’s going to happen once it’s available. But I do know that as an author and a parent, something special happened the other night.
Our son, who never hesitates to tell me when my writing stinks a big one, gave me the ultimate compliment: He has a new favorite book.
And the author of that book happens to share his last name.