Of Parents

Dear J-

So in my reading I’ve gotten into the habit of picking up books from the Overdrive site of the local library (xyz.lib.overdrive.com), downloading it onto the phone and reading that way; from the novelty of reading Bleak House (via Project Gutenberg hotsync to the Treo 650 I still have in a box somewhere) to today, where if it’s not on the electronic library I mentally give up and look for some other author, my habits sure have changed. Going to the library was a regular event, one that required some planning and effort and now I’m just at the computer pulling down whatever I can find from the author du jour, who lately has been Cynthia Voigt. Whether it’s because of expected audience or who’s best able to tackle the technology, for some reason the online library is strong with young adult fiction, plus I’ve discovered I’m quite receptive to that genre, so here I am.

I actually started with the Mister Max series, which are clever and fun, but have since moved into reading the Tillerman Cycle of novels; our library has the first four and I’ve read two-and-a-third so far: Homecoming, Dicey’s Song (which should be read together in one generous sitting, or at least in close proximity to each other, one larger work split up by publisher’s demand, perhaps) and am working through A Solitary Blue. Running through all of these like some bright ribbon is the heartache of parents abandoning their kids one one form or another; whether literally or figuratively abdicating authority and care for welfare, you can’t help but feel for them as one adult after another walks through the door, returning sporadically or not at all.

The children are resourceful and clever, mature beyond their years and fiercely independent; there is no stronger character than Dicey Tillerman herself, determined to keep the family together in the face of adversity and challenge. It does make for compelling reading and yet I can’t imagine but surely can understand what the adults must be thinking, walking out like that, failing to follow up on the promises we made to babies and partners, choosing ourselves over anyone else and failing to hold to what we said was right and forever. I understand — because forever is a long time — and don’t — because if these things aren’t changing you forever then maybe there’s something you need to examine within. Push forward with it.

Mike

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