It’s a mistake to assume, as Alan Jacobs did recently in the Chronicle of Higher Education (in a passage later quoted by Shelf Awareness), that readers are, “mostly born and only a little made.”
I don’t blame those two women any more than I blame the librarian. Their responsibility as guardians, whether they were aunts or family friends or much older sisters, is to watch out for the young person in their charge. Thirteen is a liminal moment between childhood and adulthood, so who am I to say what’s appropriate for someone that age, and for this particular thirteen year old I don’t know in the slightest.
Having a library card before you can fill out the application is meaningless -- a driver's license without the driving test. What purpose is served by giving the *parent* an additional card on which to check out books?
"Nothing! Look at your hands. And look at your mouth. What IS that truck?"
"I don't know, aunt."
"Well, I know. It's jam—that's what it is..."
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