A Reading Betrayal from my Daughter
My daughter has been a reliable little mini-geek all her life. She loves Dr. Who, she picks most of her books from the science fiction/fantasy section of the YA category (and the middle grade readers before that), she participates in science experiments with me, she even has a cool t-shirt with Tweety Bird wearing glasses that says “Nerdy Chicks Rule”.
So, when we received the list of required reading for incoming freshman at her high school and it included Ender’s Game, I thought we had it covered. Of course I have Ender’s Game. I love Ender’s Game! Orson Scott Card is crazy, but this book is great, and it is the start of a great series. I was excited, we would have a new series of books to share and talk about; I couldn’t believe that she hadn’t read the book already.
She started to read the book happily enough, but after a few days, I noticed she wasn’t making much progress. Sure, it has been a very busy summer, and back to school time is particularly busy this year with the first year of high school and cheerleading practice starting before school. Still, she is a fast reader, so I wondered what was going on. Finally, I asked her, and she admitted that she found the book kind of boring. Boring? It is the only science fiction book on the list! How could she say such a thing?
I have a friend who loves science fiction as much as I do that has a daughter who doesn’t like SF at all, except for Harry Potter and Twilight, of course. Now, I am not the kind of mom to go around saying my kids are better than other people’s kids (because that would be WRONG and BAD), so let’s just say that I have long been content to just be happy I had a daughter that shares my geeky interests. Therefore, when she came out with this “Ender’s Game is boring” sentiment, it really threw me for a loop. It is a classic of the genre, one of the few books I re-read! How could she not love it?
I was so looking forward to her loving this book. I pictured us talking about it, and then her reading the following books, and all the discussions from those. I love talking about books with her, and as she gets older, I love that she is reading more sophisticated books, books that I would read even if I didn’t have a child, and books that I have already read and loved. When I saw that book on the list, I was excited, looking forward to a mother-daughter bonding experience. My disappointment in her response was correspondingly intense. How could she have let me down?
As I thought about it more, though, I realized betrayal might be too strong a feeling for this. Although Ender is a child in this book, it was clearly written for adults. I had read the book first as an adult, and the teen-aged me may not have found the themes of social engineering, war and genocide quite so compelling. Also, tastes vary, even within general categories like speculative fiction. I have no desire at all to read the Twilight books, for instance. So, maybe this is just a momentary blip in our geeky love fest.
I can go back to finding happiness in all the geeky pursuits we share. Last night Warehouse 13 and Alphas started up again on Syfy, and she was excited with me, so that is good. It is time to move my sense of betrayal on to something that really deserves it. Like the SciFi channel changing its name to Syfy. I can get up a good head of steam on that one, and feel totally righteous doing it!