Last year I listened to Jonathan Stroud’s The Screaming Staircase, the first book in the Lockwood & Co. series. And I loved it. I went on and on about it to my kids.
A-Read said I’d brought it home from the library months earlier and he hadn’t gotten past the fifth or so chapter. “What?! How is that possible? Where were you in the story?”
He explained and I understood. It started off strong with an adventurous case but then backed up to explain how the main character, Lucy, ended up with Lockwood and George. I’d enjoyed the beginning enough that I was invested and didn’t mind the backstory (which included action). But A-Read wasn’t engaged enough. He put it down and never picked it up again. And despite my ebullient assurances that the narrative goes back to plenty of action, he just wouldn’t give it another try.
Two months ago, I brought it home from the library again, this time for Sprite. And I borrowed book 2 for myself. I just returned The Screaming Staircase to the library last week. He’d only read 43 pages. Like his brother, he’d put it down and never picked it up again. He just kept finding other books he wanted to read more. He didn’t even make it to the backstory section.
“You’re still in the scene where they’re dealing with the ghost?! And you stopped reading?!”
One of the boys tried to tell me that he just has different taste from me. But no, with these kinds of books, we usually have similar taste.
So how is it possible that I can love these books sooooo much and they don’t? Honestly, I don’t get it.
But I guess this is related to why and how some books can be so popular while others, perhaps just as well-written and tightly-plotted, aren’t. Why it can be so hard for some books to stand out of the pack, for some manuscripts to break out of the slush.
Somehow, I have no problem accepting that my manuscripts aren’t for everyone. But I can’t accept that my children don’t even like a book I love.
Weird, huh? (Them, I mean. LOL!)