Years ago, not long after Wish You Were Here was published, an acquaintance told me that her daughter had read it and really enjoyed it. I knew this woman hadn’t read it, herself, so I asked how old her daughter was.
I groaned inside when she told me that. Unless her daughter was pretty mature for her age, this was not an appropriate book for her to be reading. (As it happened, she was.)
Not long ago, another acquaintance purchased the book and said he was going to read it to his kids, who were considerably younger than twelve.
“That’s really not a good idea,” I said, and told him the book was not even remotely appropriate for children.
“It’s okay,” he said. “I can edit on the fly.”
I continued trying to dissuade him from using this as bedtime story material, telling him that the maturity level had everything to do with subject matter and nothing to do with four-letter words, but he assured me he knew what he was doing. “Okay, then,” I said, mentally adding, “but you’ll be sorry!”
I saw him yesterday. “Wow,” he said, “you weren’t kidding! It was fine, up to a point, but then I just had to stop. You cover some really heavy issues.”
Yes. Yes, I do.
“It’s not at all what I was expecting! But it’s really good. I’m gonna read it again.”
Lesson to be learned, people… if the author says a book isn’t age appropriate, you’d best believe it.