24 March 2008

All the Questions You'd Like to Ask Mr. Cormier

Here's an amusing set-up from Peter at Collecting Children's Books:

Robert Cormier, whose brilliant and controversial novels had changed the landscape of young-adult fiction, was one of my personal heroes -- but his bookstore appearance was scheduled for a weekday afternoon and I had just begun my first full-time job and couldn't possibly get the day off work.

Happily, my brother volunteered to take my books to the store and have them signed. . . .

My brother arrived early, but he was the only one there. When he walked into the store with a couple Cormier books in his hand, the store manager was so relieved she almost hugged him. "Now Mr. Cormier isn't here just yet, but if you just wait patiently, he should be here very soon. Till then, why don't you just browse for a few minutes."

Browsing in a bookstore. Yeah, my brother was going to LOVE that.

Soon there was a small fuss at the back of the store and the manager came running over to my brother. "He's here! He's here! We're serving him a light lunch in the backroom, but then Mr. Cormier will be right out to sign your books!" She dragged my brother to a chair at the back of the store and pushed him into it: "Now you just sit HERE and think of all the questions you'd like to ask Mr. Cormier."

Of course my brother, who had never picked up a Cormier book in his life before I'd handed him my copies that morning, didn't have any questions at all to ask the author. Except maybe, "How was your light lunch?"
The rest of the posting provides graphic evidence of how this turned out and what a gentleman Robert Cormier was.

Of course, in fiction the brother would have made something up that implied he had read Cormier's books, and the author would have invited him out to lunch to hear what young people are up to these days, and the brother would have phoned Peter for tips on what to say, and Peter would have insisted on coming along in the role of his own aliterate brother, and...laffs galore, people! I'm going to have to go write this one down.

(Thanks to Fuse #8 for the pointer.)

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