Marissa Goodell, librarian extraordinaire, let me know that her young people’s reading group read and discussed Buddha Boy, with some unexpected, and lasting, results. Marissa’s allowed me to share some of her email here (though I’ve altered the reader-in-question’s name):
“I wish you could have joined us for the Buddha Boy discussion on Saturday!
“Mary received quite a confidence boost reading [the book], and her mom was so proud of her she read it, too, so they could talk about it together. . . . She had never read a book that changed perspective or scenes in the middle of a chapter, and she wasn’t familiar with characters that appeared for a short time without knowing exactly what happened to them next. [Another girl in the group] explained that they had all of the information they needed to figure out [the book] on their own, and this gave Mary a great feeling of power. It was exciting to see her face the moment she realized that she could take ownership of a book in that way.”
I can’t say how thrilled I was to read this – that a book of mine changed the way a reader experienced fiction – that is FANTASTIC.
Marissa went on to note that “The book received rave reviews all around, and there was general agreement that it was necessary for Jinsen to have been a bully as Michael to fully experience his dramatic change, that Justin is an honest example of how difficult but ultimately necessary it is to break out of comfortable invisibility to stand up against injustice, and that everyone, even McManus, has a god within waiting to be released. Thank you for providing the thought-provoking material for such a rewarding experience.”
Thank you, Marissa, and “Mary,” and the entire reading group, for providing me with one of the high water marks of my writing career.