I tweeted a while back about my eleven-year-old’s borderline violent reaction to the book ERAGON (a book chucked hard against the far wall, a blonde-haired girl gone mad with frustration, an impassioned cry to the god of books, “WHY does this book have to be so OBVIOUS?”)
Today, my darling girl sat down next to me on the couch, sighing deeply. I was deeply involved in the pages of The Blind Assassin and didn’t look up. She sighed again.
“Everything alright, hon?” I asked.
“No,” she said, sighing again. “Since, apparently, I like to torture myself, I decided to read the second book in the Eragon series.”
“Hmmm,” I said, turning my page (I was at a particularly good bit). “That seems like a strange choice.”
“It’s just that I thought it would be better than the first one.” She pressed the heels of her hands against her forehead. “I thought he might have learned.”
I shook my head. “It’s probably best you learn right now to not put a lot of faith in boys learning things. Remember, that author is still very young. And some lessons are tougher than others.”
She groaned. “I’d like to make a law,” she said.
“Would you now?” I said, turning the page again.
“Yes,” she said, taking my book away and putting it on the shelf. She came back with another one. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett. “I want to make this book required reading for ALL WRITERS ON EARTH.”
“Guards! Guards!?” I asked. “Can I ask why?”
“Well, first of all, because it’s hysterical.”
She had a point. I agreed with that one.
“And second of all, to demonstrate that there is NO EXCUSE FOR BEING OBVIOUS.” She balled her hands into fists. She punched the sky.
“Okay,” I said.
“The only reason for a book to have obvious plots or dimwitted main characters is if they’re trying to be funny. Terry Pratchett is funny. And he’s trying to tell THE UNIVERSE that if you’re being painfully obvious than people will make fun of you. If all writers on earth read Terry Pratchett and learned their lessons from him, then all the books on earth will be better.”
Exhausted from her little speech, she collapsed into a puddle of worn-out girl lying next to me on the couch.
“Are you quite through,” I said.
“Yes,” she said.
“Do you need something new to read?”
“No,” she said. “I think I need to re-read all the Terry Pratchett books in the house. I think he has a lot to teach me.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what she did for the rest of the afternoon.
Now, I know that many of you have children, and I’m sure you think they’re marvelous.
That kid is pretty damn awesome. And sometimes, I’m so proud of her I can hardly speak.