Stephen King's novels have been an integral, pivotal part of my life, from the moment I found a battered paperback copy of "Carrie" in my backyard as a young girl, and devoured it while sitting on the patio in a saggy strap lounge chair. No other author or artist of any kind has had as much influence or given me as much joy - hands down it is Stephen, from that first engrossing read to "Under the Dome" and "UR", both of which I just finished ("UR" on my Kindle - sublime!). So here is the thing. My daughter who is 11 and in 5th grade is an avid reader, as was I at her age. I'd like to introduce her to Stephen King, and was thinking of starting with the Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Thoughts? I don't want to terrorize her by introducing something that is not age-appropriate, and I would value outside advice from other parents who did or did not have a child read this book. Thanks Constant Readers! Lisa
I loved "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon"! It would be ok to let her read because it is told through the eyes of a child who is alone in the woods and doesn't throw out random age-inappropriate thoughts (you know what I mean). I also think "Eyes of a Dragon" would be appropriate as well... I've also seen a few of Stephen King's short stories published by Scholastic in collections of short horror stories by different authors-I'm going back about 10yrs on that one so I don't remember the name of the books, but I remember one had "Battlefield" in it (the story with the "toy" soldiers). When I was 11, I read R.L. Stine and gradually grew into Stephen King as I became older-now he is all I will read :o) She's too young now, but maybe at 15 or so you can let her read the short story "The Long Walk" by Richard Bachman. LOVED that one.
I peeped into this post because I read my first Stephen King novel at 12, and although I think "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" is age appropriate, of all his books, it is the one I was most disappointed with. Frankly, I thought it was a stinker. At 12 I read "The Stand". I still had my Barbies, and I was, I'm sure, way more innocent than kids nowadays.
I gave my children the Eyes of the Dragon at about age 9. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon would be fine. I would be more concerned whether or not she connects with the subject matter. The focus on baseball might not work for some children.
I read the Eyes of the Dragon at 8 or 9, as well. It was my first King novel, and I remember how much I enjoyed the "real" characters as compared to the more... flat? characters of the teen/kid's books I'd read. I think the Girl Who Loved Tom Gorden would be fine.
However, I'm also of the opinion that any book is appropriate to be read if the child can read it (dependant upon their personality, of course). Kids are actually much more comfortable and aware of the "darker" side of life than we'd like them to be. I understand the desire to not terrorize her. I think it's probably a mommy judgement call. Do *you* think she could handle it? :)
I read Pet Sematary when I was 14, I think. I am a child of the 70s though and grew up on Freddy Krugger and Jason from Friday the 13th, so I was pretty much desensitized to violence by that age. I do have to say the film version of Pet Sematary is the scariest movie I ever saw. The part that got me was the sister with spinal meningitis. I had nightmares over her!
I think it's really dependent on the child. Some kids get really freaked out reading the Goosebumps books. My daughter is 13 and if she reads anything scary, she ends up sleeping downstairs on the sofa for a week. I, on the other hand, starting devouring everything from Stephen King including Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Stand, etc. when I was in 7th grade. I'm still a horror novel and horror movie junkie and as far as I can tell, it didn't warp me too badly. You have to assess your daughter's maturity level and make the decision.
I read Pet Semetary when I was 14. I thought it was the greatest book ever written. I still feel that way. Stephen King is by far the most interesting author I have ever read. I am a constant reader and I often check to see if I am lucky enough to find that he has blessed us with another masterpiece. Tom Gordon was scary because it could really happen and it is told from the perspective of a child. I have read it three times, and it is interesting to me every time I read it. You are the judge of your child and only you know if your child is ready for King. I can tell you that I have read his amazing work for many years and have never been disappointed!!
I'd say start her out on what ever you feel is the most appropriate book. I was 12 when my uncle gave me his SK collection. He had collected a few hardbacks and mostly paperbacks copies of everything up until then (which was the early 80's), and I dove in head first! My parents had always given me the leeway of being able to read what ever I wanted as long as I didn't let it consume me, I couldn't read it and then go act it out! They told me that would be absurd, and besides they would have punished me if I had gone out and made a fool of myself. They did the same thing with music, let me listen to whatever I wanted as long as they didn't have to hear it, they didn't sensor me much at all, which was nice, it let me be me, within reason of course! and I feel that I turned out ok, no I didn't go on to be a self made millionaire, but I do think I'm a productive member of society, with a healthy imagination, and a love for fiction novels.
I read my first Stephen King book, IT at the age of 10 years old. If your daughter is mature I think that The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon would be fine for her. I think some of the short stories from Night Shift and Skeleton Crew would also be good for your daughter.
The Eyes of the Dragon should be the one you should give your daughter as a gift and use to introduce her to Mr. King. Stephen King wrote it for his daughter, and while it is a child's tale, it is classic Stephen King; filled with the same suspense and magnetic twists and turns that keep a reader attracted and attached to the story.