When you were a kid, did you read any “grown up” books you really shouldn’t have?
I got to thinking about this after a young friend told me that when he was in grade school, he loved John Grisham novels. His reading comprehension impressed me. He then said that the first adult novel he read was Silence of the Lambs — when he was eight.
I must have shrieked, or jumped, because he tried to calm me down… by explaining that the next book he read was A Clockwork Orange. At that point I came close to dialing for help — for him — so he added, “But you know who I really loved? Madeleine L’Engle. A Wrinkle in Time.”
Good try. But no amount of Meg Murry will undo Hannibal Lecter.
So who else read ahead, so to speak?
Oh, I know: me! And I’m not talking about those Ray Bradbury books I read in junior high that scared the living piss out of me. The summer I was ten or eleven, I found a dogeared copy of Coffee, Tea or Me? (Subtitle: “The Uninhibited Memoirs of Two Airline Stewardesses.”)
Boy howdy, it was an education. And I’m not talking about its descriptions of emergency evacuation procedures.
And Mom: Before you wonder which of my parochial school friends’ parents left that book lying around their rumpus room… I found it at my grandparents’ house in Roswell.