Here I am being somewhat lackadaisical at my post (I’d gather I’m leaning against a bookcase, absently watching another’s chess game) when a quirky thing named Sadie, who was adorable (she looked like you, Les! – what with wild hair [“If only we could get her to comb it,” her dad says], a gypsy-skirt, and a rub-on tiger tattoo) and she says, “Hi. I read at a YA Level and my dad is going to let me pick out a book.”
Hmm. I scratch my chin and say, “Hmmmm. Well, what do you like?” Mystery, fantasy, and suchlike – she says. But she doesn’t like this, this, or this. So I say, “Honestly, you’ll love Clive Barker’s Abarat,” and that she’d grow-up to love his horror movies —
“I can’t watch them at all! —“
It doesn’t occur to me then that she’s only, ay, nine-or-so years old, so: “What?! You’re entirely too much in the wrong,” and I explain just why. At some point, she spaced out. Is such-and-such good, she asks; sure, but so is this – ad nauseum. It comes to that seven-and-twenty minutes after, we are still unsure (thus I unsuccessful) about her book-of-choice. I can help her with fantasy, but I know little mystery, and that just by rote. Eileen two-pennies me with Meg Cabot, “Let’s find her some little girl stuff.”
“Surely she wants something awesome, with loads of wry adventure!,” says I, and I again slip our copy of Abarat from its siblings, suggestively —
and so she politely tells me, perplexed, how big of a help I was, and wanders off with authors I hadn’t pushed. Aw.