by Barbara K. Richardson author of Guest House
Everything a novelist needs to know is learned by age four. I don’t remember which great writer said this, but there’s truth in it. The furious beauty of childhood stamps us for life.
Why then aren’t there more novels that feature great kid characters? Let me name a few of my favorites:
I adore Dill, Gem and Scout, scouring the back streets of Maycomb, Alabama, daring Boo Radley to come out and play, if only he’ll put away his scissors… Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a Southern love letter that delivers three unforgettably sweet, cantankerous, determined children from harm.
Reuben and Swede Land are a brother/sister pair who move through their childhood straight, no chaser. Reuben traces the frightening demise of his older brother’s youth as Swede, his kid sister, records outlandish tall tales in metered rhyme. The realist and the poet, both are sensitive, compelling siblings struggling to hold their family together in Leif Enger’s beautiful Peace Like a River.
Idgie Threadgood tomboys her way through Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café as recluse, then dear friend, then champion. The eventual triumph of this girl, crushed early on by the death of her older brother, makes you want to cheer for the sanity of children who do find their ways through suffering, on their own terms, in their own time. Thank you, Fannie Flagg.
My novel Guest House stars Matt Garry, a shy ingenious boy who never fits in unless he’s alone with his invisible sidekick HeShe. That is until Melba Burns, his middle-aged landlady, quietly discovers she cannot imagine living without him. Youth meets wisdom in Guest House, and sometimes it is Matt Garry who has the wisdom!
Recapture your childhood in fiction. Crack open a great book. I would be honored if that book were Guest House.
You can read chapter one of Guest House and view Barbara’s video trailer here.
Thanks so much for inviting me to write a guest blog. I too love to knit but dark chocolate wins in the compulsive pleasures department!
Please check back for my review of Guest House later in the day.
My sincere thanks to Barbara K. Richardson and The Book Report Network for making the Guest Blog post possible.