the new thing

the new thing

F

or months, Peaches has only read one book.

If you want to split hairs, I suppose you could say there were three books rather than just one: Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy. The books started as read-alouds for The Three and me. After reaching the conclusion of the second installment this time (I’d read them to Marcel and Roy previously), I left it to Peaches to read the third one on her own.

She did. And then she started the series over, independent of us—first one and then the other. And when she’d revisited all of their escapades a second time she went back to the beginning a third time. It was as if she was caught in some weird, literary loop, populated exclusively by brainy and resourceful orphans. I told Scott that I was considering paying her $5 if she would take on something, anything else.

“Let the girl read what she wants to read,” Scott said.

When was she going to tire of the same tomes? Why wasn’t she bored with them already? Did the child not want to read Harry Potter, for Christ’s sake? What was wrong with her?

And then, for her birthday, Peaches received two new books, but the only one that bears mentioning is the one that broke the spell: Scat by Carl Hiaasen. After an all-nighter in the ER, I caught her in a weak moment and asked if she’d like for me to bring one of her new books to her to read in bed. She acquiesced. After 30 pages, she demanded the return of her orphan narratives and I lost hope. There was something about that Scat that had caught her attention, though. I caught her, having quietly returned to it, under the covers.

“I have the same love for Scat that I have for The Mysterious Benedict Society,” Peaches told her brother.

Thank heavens.