I completely blame Young Adult author A.S. King (Amy) for my getting SMASHED in the face with a soccer ball not once, but twice, this past weekend.
I picked up her most recent book Everybody Sees the Ants Friday afternoon at our independent book store (Toadstool in Milford – can I hear an Amen?)
Saturday was a wash at our house – between soccer games, yard sales, gymnastics, and a haunted corn maze (so much fun) there wasn’t much time leftover for reading – that usually has to wait until my Sunday morning coffee.
So Sunday morning rolls around and I grab Everybody Sees the Ants – interesting cover. Yup, there’s an ant in the kid’s eye. Amy’s a great writer, I knew that this was going to be a good read so I settled down and started reading while the kids were still asleep.
A tiny disclaimer here – I’m not, for the most part, a Young Adult reader, oh sure, I’ve read some outstanding Young Adult stories (Harry Potter, Matched, Please Ignore Vera Dietz) but the genre seems to have been co-opted by Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies these days. And if there is one thing I’ve had enough of, it’s those damn sparkly vampires.
One by one, my kids woke up.
“Mom, do you know where….”
“Shhh, I’m reading.”
Logan had to get new soccer shoes to wear at a game he was reffing later that day.
I brought the book with me. There might be time in the parking lot to read a few pages while he unbuckled himself to get out of the car.
Marc took the girls to their soccer game, Trevor went hiking with a friend, and I sat reading until it was time to take Logan to his soccer game.
“What’s for lunch, mom?”
“Fix it yourself, I’m reading.”
I put the book in the car as I drove Logan to his game. When your kid is the ref at a soccer game, you don’t have to really pay attention. You don’t have to cheer for the near misses or clap for the goals scored. You really only have to be there so that you can drive your cherub home after the game.
What you do get to do is read.
And it was because I was so deeply engrossed in this book, I didn’t see the soccer ball that came directly at me, smashing into the side of my head causing my jaw to sing, my neck to do that little whiplash thing, and my reading glasses to quietly embed themselves into the bridge of my nose.
Lesson learned, if you are going to sit at a soccer game (even if your kid is not playing) you should probably pay attention. I put the book down.
But then I thought, what’s happening to Lucky? What about those ants?
The book taunted me from the grass. “I have the rest of the story and you don’t.”
Like an addict on crack, knowing that on some level it was bad for me but still wanting the high, I took another hit. I picked up the book again and started reading. I had to know what happened next.
And wouldn’t you know it, I GOT HIT IN THE FACE BY ANOTHER SOCCER BALL!!!!!
Seriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY?
Damn you, Amy King, you had to go and write a book that makes me choose between reading it and getting brain trauma?
Okay, that’s it. The universe was probably telling me something. I moved my chair way back from the field so that I could continue reading in relative safety. The game concluded, several people came over to me to see if I was okay, yeah, yeah, fine, I answered as I waved them off and turned the book’s pages.
I read while I sipped my liquid dinner because my jaw hurt too much to chew.
And last night I finished the book.
It’s not often I find a book that I literally can’t put down. I had thought Please Ignore Vera Dietz was one of the best and most creatively written stories. Ever.
I was wrong.
It, along with Everybody Sees the Ants, is.
I read a lot of books, (yes, Amy’s “The Dust of 100 Dogs” is also on my short list to read but rest assured, I WILL NOT be reading it at a soccer game – enough with the brain injury) and there is nothing like a story that lives on in your head once you have turned the last page. I went to bed and woke up this morning (bruised but otherwise okay), thinking about the characters who shared their lives with me throughout our short time together.
That’s the sign of a great book.
Everybody sees the Ants is, in short, simply outstanding. But do yourself a favor, when (not if) you pick it up, if you value your health, don’t read it near a moving plane, train, automobile, heavy machinery, or an ongoing soccer game.
I blame Amy for writing such an incredible book that it’s just too dangerous to read it anywhere near where others are actively participating in life.
Write on Amy.