Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

A couple of my classes just finished reading The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexandar McCall Smith. If you haven't read it (or its sequels), I highly recommend it.

My students had mixed reviews. Some of them didn't like it so much.

"It was so-so," said one kid.

"Well, what book did you like better?" I asked.

"All books are so-so," the kid said. Apparently, he prefers video games, and finds this whole reading thing overrated.

"I liked Dracula better," piped up one of my better students.

I liked Dracula too, though it was kind of an apples and oranges comparison, at least to me.

"What did you like better about Dracula?" I asked.

"There were more SAT words in it," she replied, with absolute seriousness.

It's true the Detective Agency series has fairly simple and straightforward language. As I clearly don't appreciate what's important, I found that one of the book's strong points.

Without giving much away, the book discusses a failed marriage. This provoked a couple of great comments from kids. One kid said, "You lose your eyes when you lose your heart."

Another said, "Love is blind. Marriage is an eye-opener."

Yet another declared, "After your first love, then you get mature."

Let's hope that's all it takes. I'd hate to think they'd need to burn through a marriage just to grow up.
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