They say it’s helpful to read your manuscript out loud, but I've decided I am not going to read my young adult novel out loud any more. I have a feeling my 4-year-old (almost 5!) has been listening in.
Last weekend we went to the birthday party of a little girl in his preschool class, and I spent the entire time telling him to stop kissing all the girls. Some of the kisses were even long kisses, the kind that end up on page 142 of a certain young adult novel.
During the pony rides I actually had to walk over to my boy, drag him away from the group by the arm, bend down to his level and say, “Um, let’s not the kiss the girls…right now.” I had to add the “right now”—I didn’t want to squelch his admiration of girls (because admiring girls is a very good thing, if not necessary). He just needs to learn the whens and whys of kissing (he seems to have figured out the hows). But I couldn’t help thinking: Whatever happened to just being fascinated with dinosaurs?
As I looked around at all the girls at the party, I started thinking that these are the ones he’ll go to elementary school with, and then eventually to high school, and then possibly to college. And one of these little munchkins might just end up being my daughter-in-law. Crap! We gotta find us a good one!
I turned to explain all of this to my little boy, but he was sitting up on the hill with his arm around another little girl. I thought about running up there and giving him the “not right now” lecture again, but honestly…I was just glad to see him moving on from dinosaurs.
So I think over the coming years, I may steer him away from young adult novels and just have him read this book over and over.
And if he ever gets confused and has questions, he should read this one.