written by Kate DiCamillo
As an adult, I could strongly relate to the following passage on so many levels:
Flora's mother was in the kitchen. She was typing. She wrote on an old
typewriter, and when she pounded the keys, the kitchen table shook and the
plates on the shelves rattled and the silverware in the drawers cried out in a
metallic kind of alarm.
Flora had decided that this was part of the reason her parents had divorced.
Not the noise of the writing, but the noise of the writing itself. Specifically, the
writing of romance.
Flora's father had said, "I think your mother is so in love with her books that
she doesn't love me anymore."
And her mother said, "Ha! Your father is so far off in left field that he wouldn't
recognize love if it stood up in his soup and sang. (p. 27)
Now, perhaps this passage resonated so strongly with me due to several reasons. First, when I was in college following high school, I lived in a sorority house my second year and had an old "manual" Royal typewriter that my mother had brought home to me when I was 6 years old. I loved that thing!! I stubbornly drug it along with me, ostensibly to type my own papers, though I eventually did so for other people, earning a little extra money. Those typewriters were LOUD, and I do mean, LOUD! I was tucked away in the basement "common room" typing, oblivious to any disruption, but some of my sorority sisters would complain the next morning about the noise that was emanating throughout the building as I typed... Oops!! ;) Secondly, being divorced, I can relate to the two differing perspectives regarding the break-up of a marriage.
Third is the additional irony that Flora's mother wrote "romance" novels. As a young teen (tween as we now call them), once I had exhausted all the local library reads contained within the children's, western, and animal sections (as well as some biographies), I finally read a few books of what I will term "semi-romance," though always including a mystery! (Note: there was no "YA" literature section back then!) Although they were halfway interesting to me at the time, after 5 books or so I moved on to classic/adult literature. I have heard the term "literature snob," and although I don't consider myself to be one, perhaps I qualify by some people's standards... The books we shelved as "romance" at Borders (prior to the Fifty Shades of Gray and advent of soft porn being classified as romance) held little appeal to me. I read a couple just to be sure, but romance novels are not my preference, as is my preference to avoid horror books... My point is that adults can also connect with this book and others classified as "children's literature," just as we can with The Muppets or Fraggle Rock TV shows.
Have you read or reread a children's book recently? Or do you have a favorite? I adore much of the more current juvenile/children's literature! How about you?