Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Under the Covers

I was chatting with my daughter on the phone last night about plans for the upcoming week-end.  We settled on those, (lemon curd trifle for the grown-ups, cupcakes for the girls) when we started talking about Donna Tartt's remarkable book, The Goldfinch, which we are both reading.  I recommend this wonderful Pulitzer Prize winning book to anyone who believes in the power of a great story.

Still on the subject of books, she told me that my seven-year-old granddaughter was found under the covers in the guest room, with a book light and the second of the Harry Potter books.  The decades disappeared and I could see my own small self doing exactly the same thing, only I used a flashlight in hopes that my older sister wouldn't rat me out.

It's hard work for such a young kid, reading big books.  The reading itself isn't a problem for a child like my granddaughter.  She's got two college professors for parents and her home has always been stuffed with books and wonderful, complex language, but with a book, she's on her own under the covers.  All those ideas and relationships to work through with her limited understanding of the world must seem daunting when she's by herself in the dark.  All those scary parts that might be just made up, but maybe they're not.  I remember the scary parts seeming very real under my sheets when the rest of the house was quiet and my parent's room was all the way down the hall.

But I know she'll finish the book and the other books in the series in a few weeks.  She'll probably read them again and again, as most of us Potter fans do.  Then she'll keep reading other books and everyday her world will be just that much bigger and everyday she will understand just that much more.  She is only seven, but she has already discovered the power of a great story.