Parental Guidance Suggested

My father, as I mentioned a few posts ago, recently purchased a Kindle. I encouraged him to buy it, because his vision has been temporarily impaired by a series of unavoidable eye surgeries. In order to read anything, he has had to don an elaborate headgear with magnifying glasses attached to the front.

One can change the type size on a Kindle, and if necessary, it even has a text to speech feature, so it seemed like the perfect solution. After we figured out how to use it, the large type worked out well, but unfortunately, the “main” and “menu” pages remain in fine print. To get around this, whenever he wants to download a new title, he calls me and I go to my computer, log on to his Amazon account, and order it for him.

I am happy to do this, appreciative of the fact that my father is finally able to sit down and read without resembling an escapee from a science fiction movie, but the download requests have gotten a little awkward.

Dad is a retired minister, and his first purchase was naturally a Bible. No problem. Then he wanted Ken Bailey’s, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes. Another fine choice. His third request was, The Number One Ladies Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith.

This novel was quite popular when it first came out, and my book group happened to read it. The protagonist is an African woman, and much of the story is good, but in my opinion, the voice is distractingly male. The main character’s thoughts and emotions regarding her marriage aren’t authentic, particularly the fact that her sexually abusive husband used to beat her, and she secretly enjoyed it.

Needless to say, the idea of my elderly parent reading this was a tad uncomfortable for me. I ordered it for him, but did not mention that I’d read it, lest he feel equally awkward when he came upon those descriptive scenes.

His next choice was Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Eyebrows raised, I ordered it without comment.

Then he asked me to order Forever, by Judy Blume.

Whaaat? Racy in its time, compared to today’s fare it is rather tame. But still. I couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

“Uh, Dad – do you know what that one is about?”

“Well, not really, but I caught the end of a show on NPR the other day that recommended it.”

“It’s a love story for teenage girls.” I looked it up on Amazon and read him the description.


“Did you still want me to order it?”

I cringed.

“Oh, I guess not. How about The Shack by William P. Young? I’ve heard that’s good.”

Relief washed over me.

Everything Dad’s ordered has been completely within the bounds of propriety, but even as an adult, the idea of my parents reading anything higher than a G-rating makes me wince.

Am I the only one?



Filed under Miscellaneous, Reading, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Parental Guidance Suggested

  1. That’s so funny! My dad enjoyed complicated spy/political stuff. I can’t imagine him reading Judy Blume!! 🙂

    I don’t know what I would have done in your case – it’s awkward!! Maybe do a little research on stuff that’s more his style so you have books to suggest! Good luck 🙂

  2. Haha you are not the only one 🙂 My parents are both in the seventies and no longer read as far as I am aware. The e-book is actually a great thing for some of the more visually-impaired readers.

    Also, your post reminds me of a recent break with my Irish in-laws (who are quite godly and reserved in some ways and the types to never God help us, watch movies on TV.)

    Trying to be all modern and friendly we all sat down to watch a movie I rented, one being quite tame and ‘PG’ rated. Well nope.. a little bed scene came up and the MIL started scraping at her cuticles, the FIL mused over some cracks in the ceiling, whilst hubby and I creased up under sofa cushions! 🙂

    Anyway sorry to hijack your post here but just wanted to mention, as it reminded me of that incident 🙂

    Best wishes

  3. Your post totally made me smile. I love it! And what a great daughter you are. 🙂

    I loved the sci fi part (and of course the part about Judy Blume).

    • The worst part was the ten seconds when I was afraid that he might already know what it was about and wanted it anyway! Quite a relief that he didn’t. 🙂

  4. Layinda,

    This must be disconcerting and under different circumstances, I would cringe right along with you. However, I grew up in a different era than you. My parents were California-ites in the late sixties and early seventies.

    They used to tan at the nude beaches and, up until I was in high school, my mom frequently wore her weathered, blue t-shirt with faded white lettering.

    What did it say?

    “I am a virgin.” Underneath in small letters and parentheses: “This is a very old shirt.”

    : ) I would have traded your dad and his Judy Blume book any day!

    • I’m not sure that the era was different, but it sure sounds like our parents were! My father is the type who only listens to classical music and wears a suit when he mows the lawn. My mother was into white gloves and pillbox hats until the seventies, when she converted to polyester pantsuits.

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