15 August 2011
The Door in the Floor
I'm halfway certain that my ninth grade English teacher wanted me to read A Prayer for Owen Meany because of how pleased he was that he looked like John Irving's dust jacket photo. I knew this at the time, but that didn't stop younger me from really really digging this book, so much so that during the year I read as many Irving pieces as I could.
But then, once I got out of high school I found myself at the community college, and I all but stopped reading entirely. Sometimes I would sit there in pretend-class and start feeling bad about myself and think, "Man, didn't I used to read all sorts of real books all the time? Didn't I do more than scroll through the GWAR FUQ while eating Taco Bell and drinking Dr. Pepper?"
Finally, one afternoon I decided I had to do something about this, and I drove down to the used book store and bought the first copy of Son of the Circus I saw. With all sorts of good intentions I got home and plowed through the opening thirty-five pages, but before I knew what had happened, I found myself bored, I'd slid a bookmark between the pages, and I'd slipped this New York Times bestseller right back onto the shelf, right back into the spot that'd been recently vacated by the X-Cops CD I'd picked up a few weeks before and which had almost as recently taken up permanent residence in the bedroom stereo. As I pushed play, I silently pledged to myself that I'd give John Irving a shot in just a few days, once I got over the momentary thrill of loud, offensive music and was back in the right frame of mind. Yep. In just a few days.
I still haven't made it to page 36.