While we wound down on working on it and discussing, Buttercup came home. She joined us in the small room (more of a nook) in the back and sat down. She hadn’t been there very long when suddenly she perked up, eyes shining, and she looked right at me with a finger point and said, “JEREMY!” [She meant my character, as she’s been reading What If It’s a Trick Question?] She followed up this one word with, “You… Okay…” then gave a half laugh and half sigh, rose and with a clear troubled-but-happy exasperation, slapped my arm. YES! In response to how what I wrote made her feel, she SLAPPED me! She then said, “I’ll be back.” I commented before she’d been out of earshot about being physically abused and suffering for my art, jokingly, of course.
When she returned, she explained that she hit me for the emotional roller coaster I put her on. She’d obviously just read an intense part of the story. She told me where… and also that she had to stop reading because it had been too much to bear - in the good sense. In other words, she felt so bad for Jeremy, and having discovered the answer to a long gestating question in the book, got too choked up to continue. And the thing is she’s only just about a third of the way through the story.
I thanked her for the compliments. We then wound up discussing it, with me not divulging any spoiler information. It’s very fun to see what parts impress or touch people. Since I can’t read the novel “fresh” myself, I enjoy “reading vicariously” with them. I like hearing assements of what readers think is going on... which characters they like and who they're suspicious of and such... So thanks, Buttercup, not only for going into my world on the page and your kind words, but for sharing your reading experience with me.
She wound up saying that she can’t remember when she’d last enjoyed a book to this magnitude. Apparently she finds herself thinking about it when away from it, and is quite emotionally invested in Jeremy’s plight. I must say it felt really good to hear. No matter how many times I’m told by someone that they enjoy my work, it always makes me just as internally giddy.
Thanks again, Buttercup! And you don’t know the half of it!
Josiecat - May the Force be with you!*
* I only ever use Lucas's saying with utmost sincerity.