BOOK & BLOG
August 14, 2006
Book of the Week: THE STOLEN CHILD by Keith Donahoe
In Donahoes world, a gang of hobgoblins lives in the forest. In appearance theyre like young children. Actually, theyre very old. They watch the children in the nearby town, waiting to find an isolated child (both emotionally and physically) that can be abducted. The oldest hobgoblin takes the childs place.
The narrative alternates between the taken child and the substitute, who retains his own consciousness and is always aware that he is not the real child. His existence depends on his ability to imitate the child, so his whole life is a lie. The stolen child forgets more and more of his past as he assimilates into the hobgoblin tribe.
This book is a fascinating achievement, written in many layers. Its impossible to look out at the woods and not feel a little nervous, after youve read it.
To me, shopping is a necessary evil. Since I live in a small town, I pretty much have to travel to do serious shopping, so its in the nature of an expedition, surrounded by planning and deadlines. I cant just casually drop into a mall to spend an idle hour.
My daughter is not a good shopper. She hates to try things on, she hates to try to coordinate, and shed pretty much rather be at the sporting goods store or the music store. And if youre trying to get her to buy something dressy, forget it. You might as well just drop darts in your foot, which would be about as much fun and a lot less painful.
So on our back-to-school expedition, this time we tried . . . speed shopping. Of course this evolved by accident, since we had a finite amount of time and a lot of things to get. But it worked out great, so next year Im going to try to follow the same procedure.
And here it is: Stride confidently into the store, find a salesperson, tell her what you need, and when she produces it (blue jeans, say), your daughter goes into the cubicle while you wait until shes decided one pair will do. While youre purchasing that pair, shes on to the next store, to duplicate the procedure.
Of course, this is assuming you have a daughter old enough to go to the next store by herself, and that you dont let your kid try on anything youre not willing to pay for, which avoids lengthy arguments. (No, you cant have $125 jeans! But Mom, they fit great!)
We didnt manage to get everything on her list, but we made a sizeable dent in the two hours we had. And neither of us was hysterical at the end of the two hours. So now weve got a method, and all we have to do is duplicate it.
In this time of Speed Dating and drive-in windows, I guess Speed Shopping was an idea just waiting to be adopted.
® 2010 Charlaine Harris