Last week’s storm left my driveway piled with broken branches and downed trees. On Saturday, there was still so much ice that I couldn’t even walk down my driveway, much less start trying to clear it. Mid-afternoon, two young men knocked on my door. They were about 21 or 22 years old, and called me “Miss Peg.” They told me that when they were in school, they had read Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio. (They knew where I live because all of the kids in my small town and the next town over know who I am and where I live.) They were driving past, saw the condition of my driveway, and said, “Miss Peg has polio problems. She can’t deal with those trees.” So they did it for me! They dragged all the heavy branches off the driveway and told a neighbor who was out with a chain saw about the one tree that was too heavy for them, and he cut that up. When they had finished, I could get my car out. They asked if I needed anything from town, and then they both wrote down their names and cell phone numbers and told me to call them if I needed any more help.
I’ve always known from my mail that I have the best readers in the world, but I never expected that the memory of a book they read a decade ago would prompt two young men to be so caring.
I just read the Amazon.com reviews of Ghost Dog Secrets. I am not a fan of Amazon reviews because they are posted with no criteria as to whether the reviewer is qualified to judge a book. Even so, my books generally get good reviews and this was no exception.
One reviewer went on at some length about the fact that he was too old to read this book. It is a book for kids, and he is a senior citizen. He phrased everything in terms of how he would have reacted when he was eleven or twelve. In the end he said he would give the book five stars, but he was too old, so he gave it four.
The very next reviewer made a big point of saying it is too bad Ghost Dog Secrets is shelved with the books for kids because it has wide appeal for readers of all ages. Another reviewer said she’d read it because her twelve-year-old son had recommended it, and had enjoyed it a lot.
Most of my books, including Ghost Dog Secrets, are categorized as middle grade, meaning ages 9-12, but I write them for myself. Like many adults, including seniors like me, I love middle grade and YA books. I read a great deal of adult material, too, but a good book is a good book, no matter what age reader it’s intended for.
Most of my letters from young readers make me smile, but this one had me grinning before I ever opened the envelope.