Sunday, July 01, 2007


Big Brother has finished reading Inkheart, a book I read to him a couple of years ago. We've not read much with him in a while, though as Momma and I have been reading the first Harry Potter to The Boy, he's been hanging out to listen in.

Big Brother always enjoyed being read to, and The Boy never didn't enjoy it, but Big Brother has always been drawn to reading. We've pulled a couple of books from him before as deemed inappropriate just yet, most recently Stephen King's Pet Cemetery. That was a well intentioned gift from a roller girl friend. Any new book that I don't personally suggest draws him, begging him to read. I'm not sure how far he got into the night he got it, but after he went to bed, Momma flipped through it and decided to read it first.

She's seen the movie, and I haven't. I've read the book, and she hasn't. So now she's reading that. She's also been working on Appetite for Life: the Biography of Julia Child, by Noel Riley Fitch, the book that really made me fall in love with Julia, and she may very well have a third book floating around some place.

I hate that she's reading Pet Cemetery before me because she'll read it eventually, as she feels like it, and there's that whole other book competing with it. Like Big Brother, I'm excited at the idea of a new book, even if it's not really new. It has been several years since I read it, and I haven't read any Stephen King since that thing I went through a few years ago during which I read him almost exclusively. But suddenly, I want to read his book again. I've settled instead on rereading Philip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke.

I love Philip Pullman. Rereading Ruby in the Smoke reminds me why I love his books. He writes for a wide variety of reading levels, and he creates stories that are really classic tales, but you can't really even describe his approach. He makes you realize that, at some point, all stories are old stories, but in a good way.

Ruby in the Smoke has been one of the books that's stayed on Big Brother's inappropriate list for some time, though he's enjoyed a number of Philip Pullman's work. I love the book, but the one theme that really worries me as a parent shows up and with no real moral stance. A few people smoke opium in the book. For one it's a devil of addiction, while for another it's used only once to some benefit.

I am in no way anti drug. I think I may have mentioned some things in the past, some rants I've made against a certain failure of a war on drugs. At the same time, I believe that the reasons behind drug use are much more important in helping people control their usage than trying to force people to do it with jail as your main deterrent.

And then we get to the part where it's my child that I'm talking about. It's such a great story, and I know he'd love it. I'm just not sure how much the opium smoking bothers me at this point. I don't really want him to smoke opium, but I also know that I might give it a try if the timing was right, and we had an all night babysitter. Millions of dead Chinese and European sailors can't be wrong.

Maybe when I finish it, Momma can start reading it, added to her always growing and shifting pile of things she's reading. Then we'll figure out if it's appropriate. It's going to come up at some point, but I'm stuck at does-it-have-to-be-now?

1 comment:

Michele said...

I read Pet Cematery when I was about 11, I think. I did have nightmares when I read Pet Cematery. I was babysitting at the time in the very early morning (about 5 am to 10 am) the little girls I was taking care of were showing me pictures of their brother who looked about 8. I asked where he was, they said he was killed. "How?!" He was stabbed in the hallway of their home. Sheesh. I think it's kind of a sad book. King always uses child characters which gets me emotionally.