Daughter was browsing in Toppings in St Andrews a few weeks ago, when a young teenage girl and her mother came in. The girl looked around and noticed a copy of Celia Rees’ Witch Child, which seemed to have some significance to her. So she picked it up and handed it to her mother, presumably in the hope that she’d be allowed to buy it.
The mother looked at the cover and read the blurb on the back and looked inside the book, before telling the girl it wasn’t a book for her.
So, what should this Witch’s Daughter have done? She badly wanted to tell the mother that she had just rejected a tremendously good book, and that the girl had excellent taste, and should be allowed to read what she wanted.
But she didn’t dare interfere. Perhaps rightly so.
I’d like to think if I was that mother, I was simply making a rash decision from a quick look, and that I wasn’t involved in any serious gatekeeping regarding my child. That if another young person stood there and said they loved the book, I would change my mind and buy it.
But what if she was a strongly minded gatekeeper? Then she’d look a fool, and might feel forced to either buy the book, or to stomp out of the shop in anger.
And would this kind of advice or suggestion be better coming from a ‘recent teen’ reader, or from a trustworthy adult who is also a parent?