05 April 2011

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Adam Gopnik’s fantasy fiction hasn’t won me over, but I adore his nonfiction writing on kids. Here’s a passage from the father of two in the 4 April issue of The New Yorker:

When one eleven-year-old girl says to another eleven-year-old girl, “So then, like, the teacher got all, like, all of you, I guess, are, like, going to have to do a, like, I don’t know, a makeup test. So! Like, yeah,” she means:

“The teacher, becoming heated”—that’s why she “got, like,” rather than “said, like”—“announced, in effect, that many of us (I suppose, at a first approximation, all) will, at some point in, as it were, the near future, have to take what actually amounts to, when all is said and done, a secondary makeup test. I have indignant feelings about this—as who among us would not?—but I recognize their essential futility.”
That must be one of the ten greatest sentences ever to appear in that august magazine.

3 comments:

Monica Edinger said...

I'm with you in loving this and Adam's reflections on just about everything. As for this particular bit, in addition to admiring it I also can visualize the speakers as Adam's kids go to my school and I know them both. His most recent book for children is full of material that is incredibly familiar to me --- he steals our school motto among other things!

Samantha said...

Amazing. Hannah said something scarily similar just the other day. I must go and read the full article. But should I show it to her?

J. L. Bell said...

That’s only a little of this article, I should say. The only harm I can see coming from the exposure would be alerting Hannah and her friends to the fact that some adults can actually break their code.