I want everyone to read my books—everyone, including kids. But—but—when I tell people That Demon Life is a comic novel about lust and laziness, with lots of drinking and screwing and miscellaneous bad behavior—well, I’m serious. It really is. And is that appropriate for a kid?
My parents let me read pretty much anything. I moved pretty much from Dr. Seuss to adult novels. An example: I loved James Bond, so for Christmas in the 4th grade I got a boxed set of the complete works of Ian Fleming! That was so cool….
But I’m not a parent. (Thankfully!) I had never had to concern myself with thoughts of familial censorship or appropriateness until that day in Denver.
In the end I steered the kid over to Long Time Ago Good, and his mom bought it for him. I guess that’s good, right?
I’ve been thinking about these things since I read Steve Himmer’s essay, Making Room for Readers. Himmer was in a somewhat different situation than I was in, but at least my kid had a good mother who wanted him to read almost anything. It was me and not the controlling adult who thought my book might be inappropriate….