Saturday, May 16, 2009

Book Talk

I just finished After Etan and it was as emotionally exhausting as you would expect.

I had just learned to read when Etan Patz went missing and up until I got this book I always framed his plight thru the prism of a child. How scared he must have been, could this happen to me? Though growing up in ungentrified Brooklyn after the black out of 1977 , white flight and a host of other urban ills had made leaving her young children unattended an untenable position for my mother.

So she cocooned us, spinning threads primarily of love but the laced with a smattering of fear. And like all ministers of information couldn't prevent bits of unacceptable truths from seeping thru. The headlines forever lodged in my subconscious, squelching any inclination I might have had to wander off.

I debated long and hard about what I wanted from this book. What thirty year old ghosts I hoped to exhume and subdue... My 4 year old's examination of the book, with its iconic photo of Patz on the cover, prompted heartbreaking questions about the fate of this photogenic boy. How had a family managed to carve out an existence under the weight of such a tragedy?

The short and cliched answer happens to be true, through resiliency. To protect the privacy of the daughter in particular, not much is said about the Patz family's surviving children. The parents have remained married, seemingly in love. Have carried on with their respective careers while the father continues to seek justice from the courts and answers from the jailed pedophile he believes killed his son. But they've never moved and they've changed their phone number.

This week's kid lit includes the second Ivy and Bean book and The Boy Who Loved Words. The Year I didn't Go To School is one of our all time favorites so we love anything written or illustrated by Giselle Potter.

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