Perhaps one story changed your life. Saved your life. Revealed a secret. Or fooled you completely. Can you name them?
Plenty of books had me fooled.
Every book opened a door, an escape route, to girls I wanted to be and boys I wanted to know. Like many silly girls, I wanted a boy to love me like boys loved girls in books. I understood that lots of things were fantasy, everything, in fact, but that. Which was ridiculous considering the state of romance among the adults I knew.
When I was in the 6th grade, my father dropped my step-sister, N., and I off at the movie theater. It was our first time to go without a grownup, and N., to my dismay but not to my surprise, attracted two boys before we’d taken our seats. They were 10th graders and they had Shawn Cassidy hair and cowboy boots. One of the boys sat between us. The other sat on my left. I sat with my folded across my chest, my eyes glued to the screen, and my hatred for N. rising to new levels.
The boy to my left put his arm around me, and I pretended I didn’t notice. He talked, and I pretended I didn’t hear. He sighed deeply at the giggles coming from my step-sister. Tick, tick, went my anger, and I saw nothing of the movie.
At the end, N gave them our phone number, and she hit me when I dragged her away, pulled her to the curb, and pushed to the waiting car. “You don’t know them!” I said to her, before my dad opened the door. “They’re cute!” she replied. Maybe so, but they never did call. That N. didn’t notice they didn’t call, made me hate her even more.
I didn’t want a boy who thought he could put his arm around me without knowing my name or what book I had just read or that ice cream was my favorite food. Boys in books were worth making your father wait by the curb.