For Christmas, I gave my mother a copy of Bound on Earth and my father a copy of On the Road to Heaven (the links are to my personal reviews of those books as written when I first read them). I had intended to write inside them why I was giving them these books (I matched them carefully, book to parent), but I never got around to it, so they were simply wrapped and handed over at my brother’s house and we never even spoke about them.
Then, at the bottom of a Valentine’s Day package of keychain dogs that say I ruff you woof woof! when you squeeze them, was the still pristine copy of On the Road to Heaven with a Post-it in my mother’s handwriting telling me this book was not for them and I could have it back thanks all the same.
I’m a little dizzy over this. I keep wanting to get more details from them, but every time I start thinking about doing so, I have no idea how to approach the subject without sounding . . . wrong. Accusative or angry or hurt or haughty or . . . something. So we haven’t talked about it.
My assumption is that they were offended by the book (though maybe not, maybe it was something else). But I still don’t know what to make of the book’s return. I’ve never had my parents return a gift before. I’m surprised that was what they decided to do. Why not just let it sit on a shelf or in a box somewhere? Why not donate it to a library sale? Why not something else? Why return it with an opaque note whose meaning I’m forced to guess at?
I don’t know what to make of this.
I said in my review of The Death of a Disco Dancer that
. . . I’ll be buying a copy for my mother (even though it says “nuts” and “balls” far too often for her taste): This book made me recognize my love for my mother in a way I too rarely do. Now, several days after finishing it, I’m still riding that buzz.
For that gift I was definitely planning on including a long note and admit the expectation that she might not read it but that the book’s appearance in her mail was a symbol of my love for her. But I don’t know, now. I’m not sure it’s worth the bother.
I have so many things I want to know about this returned gift. And so little confidence in my ability to ask the right questions.
But if my Dad—for whom On the Road to Heaven is mathematically the ideal book—can’t read it long enough to get the cover to stay slightly open when laid back down on the table—–
I’ve never been so depressed about the potential to bring Mormon lit to Mormons.
Thank God—and I mean it literally—for the itty-bitty chunks of joy Mormon Lit Blitz is daily delivering right now. May it be sufficient to drown my sorrows.