My son resisted reading The Right Stuff. Why? Probably because I told him it was great and he would like it. And then, the fatal mistake, his father said the same thing.
My son has read just about every Malcolm Gladwell he can get his hands on. Walks around quoting passages from Garbology and The Omnivore's Dilemma. The Right Stuff? Not a chance. "But it's about astronauts. The first men in space. Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier. Tom Wolfe is such an exciting writer - you won't be able to put it down."
(If you have children, you know the look. The rolled eyes. The raised brow.)
The Right Stuff sat on his bookshelf gathering dust. Why doesn't he trust us? We have good taste. It's not as if we're asking him to read Little Women. Or Twilight. What is it about a parent suggesting a book to a child that makes them automatically reject it? I never did that when I was growing up. (Well, I do remember my father trying to get me to read Faulkner. But Faulkner's different, right?)
And then - oh miracle of miracles, a few days ago I saw my son with the book. Not wanting to curse my luck, I muttered under my breath, "What are you reading?" "This," he said, waving the The Right Stuff in the air. I nodded. Said nothing.
Yesterday my husband asked him, trying hard to sound casual, "So. What do you think about it?"
A grunt from my son. "Good."
Victory. I will never say, "Told you so." Except in a blog post. But not to his face.
The next books we'll try to cram down his throat, Killer Angels and Son of the Morning Star.