Last Friday Rachel and I were sitting at Barnes & Noble reading. (This has become a very enjoyable habit for us) We were privileged to witness a class from a local elementary school on a field trip to visit the store.
I have to admit it was a little distracting, but well worth it if even a few of the children are motivated to love books and reading.
The employee conducting the tour spoke loud enough for all of us to hear. He said a few things I took issue with. For instance, in the “hobbies” section, he pointed out that “your mom might like to knit, or your dad might want to build you a cabinet or something. Books in this section would help them.”
Yeah, moms all knit, and dads are the ones who build things. Except that Rachel brought a lot more power tools and experience with them into our marriage than I did. But enough about that. Something he said bothered me much more than his latent sexist stereotyping.
The guy explained to the kids that “Fiction is made-up or make-believe stories, while non-fiction is about real things and the truth.”
As you know if you follow my reading page, I’m currently reading Sheldon Siegel’s Judgment Day. Siegel’s novels are about the life and work of Mike Daley, a former Catholic priest turned defense attorney. Mr. Daley has a teenage daughter who behaves a lot like the actual, non-fictional teenagers you and I know.
About 2/3 of the way through Judgment Day, Daley’s daughter is giving him grief over something. In an attempt to avoid getting into the argument, the author shares this thought:
“It’s a bad idea to wallow in the mud with an angry teenager.”
Yes it is. We all know this, don’t we?
274 pages into a work of fiction we find a statement that is as true as my writing that it is raining outside.
Perhaps we will take up the matter of whether all non-fiction is based on, about, or even relates to “truth” some other time, but for now, remember, fiction is not the opposite of truth!