My mother always steadfastly refused - her reasoning being that Stephen King wrote horror stories, and that I am easily frightened. She liked to cite the movie "The Witches," which is based on a Roald Dahl book, which is meant to be a comedy, but gave me nightmares for years. (I also might, possibly, have received nightmares from the movie "How the Grinch Stole Christmas.")
So okay, I was easily frightened at the tender ages of four and six, but I argued that I was more mature, at the age of eleven.***
My mother didn't believe me.
Then finally, the summer after fifth grade, as the family wandered around in some stranger's garage perusing their old belongings to see if we wanted to buy anything, I found a bright orange, hardcover copy of a book entitled Cujo, with that yearned for name, "Stephen King," printed in bold letters on the spine.
How could mom say no?
I ran to her, excitement radiating from my being, and showed her the book, begging to please, please, please be allowed to read it.
After thinking for a moment, my mother said "okay." This book, she said, was not too scary. She would let me read it.
I began reading the book on a hot, bright summer day, sprawling out on the grass beside our driveway.
And I was disappointed.
At this period of my life, I was under the impression that any prolific author must, by definition, be amazing. After all of the build-up to how frightening Stephen King was, reading a book about a rabid dog was a let-down. I also wasn't frightened.
Due to this experience, I went through a period of quite a few years where I decided that The King wasn't really that great a writer. I looked down on those who found his writing addicting, who owned more than a few of his books.
That one bad experience colored my view of the author for years. Have YOU ever had an experience like that?
*The name has been changed to protect privacy.
**I realize this is pompous reasoning, but it really was exactly what I said to my mom.
***This, of course, was a complete lie, whether I realized it or not.