Lee Gowan, author of Confession and other novels, lives in Toronto, while his mother lives in western Canada. Time spent with her is very precious to Lee.
One day several months ago, Lee and I were part of a small group of writers invited to read excerpts from our books and chat with an audience in a large Toronto bookstore.
Out of the blue, Lee said something that moved me nearly to tears. (That’s Lee, extreme right, and that’s me, third from left, trying to compose my face — and failing.)
Lee told the audience that he’d read A Good Home to his mother. She’d loved it, he said. Day after day, he read the book to her. They laughed together at some of the comical parts. And at certain points, Lee said, he and his mother were both so choked up with emotion that he had to stop reading for a bit.
As Lee spoke, the image formed in my mind: of an adult child reading to a parent.
Why did I find that a remarkable thing? Well – for one thing – my relationship with my own mother is one of the major themes in A Good Home. But she died before the book was completed. As Lee spoke, I realized that I’d never get the chance to read the book to my own beloved mother – who’d always encouraged my writing.
I also knew that Lee’ s mother’s health was already declining — and I felt happy that he had been able to read my book to his mother while she could still enjoy it.
We know that children love to be read to. We read books to our children when they are young. They clamour for more, even when their eyes are full of sleep.
But sometimes we forget that many adults – especially elderly people – like to be read to as well.
Letters and cards from readers of A Good Home have reminded me of this fact. It turns out that a good many people have read my book – or parts of it — to a parent, other relative or friend.
Reading is a cherished past-time for many people. Mother’s Day in Canada, the US and many other parts of the world is just around the corner and Father’s Day follows in June. If your Mom or Dad (or favorite older relative or friend) is still alive, you might consider buying them a book.
Most people prefer to read a book by themselves — and it’s great if they are still able to do so. Others would like to, but can no longer do so. Whatever the situation, consider offering to read a chapter of a favorite book to a relative or friend. Whether or not they need the help, the sound of a beloved voice reading to them might just be a balm to a person’s soul.
This post is dedicated to everyone who loves reading, or being read to. And to those who read to others.