A homeschool student is sure to graduate top of her class! (Well, unless she’s a twin. Martha and Ben tied for Kendall Academy valedictorian.)

I have been homeschooling kids for a quarter of a century.  Last week, I graduated my seventh and last high school student. Now what? What will I do with the time I once devoted to lesson plans, science experiments, and homeschool field trips?

I want to write more, and to write more consistently. I want to read more, too – not for school, but for fun.

I set myself a summer reading goal: one book a month just for fun, a book not required for school, church, or a writing assignment. This summer, I want to read fiction, a couple of biographies, and a few technical books. (I enjoy reading about the craft of writing, so technical books don’t fall in the “work” category for me.)

In the fiction category, I read Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See last month. Yesterday, I finished Bren McClain’s debut novel, One Good Mama Bone. It took me a while to get into McClain’s novel, but I persevered, and about a third of the way in, I was hooked. I’m an early-to-bed kind of girl, but last night I stayed up reading until midnight. I did not want to put One Good Mama Bone down until I knew how it ended.

When I was a kid, I would frequently curl up on the couch in front of a fire in winter, or I’d sprawl on the porch swing in summer, and I would read all day long. Mom had to make me take a break from reading to eat lunch and dinner. “Camille, come to the table NOW!” she insisted.

Once I had children of my own, reading became a hazard. There was the time I melted the bottom out of the rice cooker – lucky I didn’t catch the house on fire! – because I had to read “just one more chapter!” I burned countless biscuits and casseroles. Under the spell of a good book, I lost track of my children, missed appointments, and neglected the housework.

I simply could not read AND be the responsible adult at the same time, so I pretty much quit reading for pleasure. I read for school and for church and for work, but I could not afford to let myself get lost in a book like I did as a child.

Until now.

Last night, I didn’t want to put One Good Mama Bone down. I did not want to stop reading. So I didn’t. I read until I finished the book, right up until midnight.

Sure, I knew I’d be tired the next day – today – but I also knew I wasn’t going to be chasing babies. My young adult children can fend pretty well for themselves.

After hugging my youngest goodbye at the front door and wishing her a good day at her summer job, I poured a second cup of coffee and pulled out my chore list for today:  mop floors, clean the bathrooms, catch up on laundry…and drink lots of coffee. After my late-nighter, I am going to need lots of coffee.

Oh, also on my ToDo list: get a copy of the next book on my summer reading wish list. It’s a beautiful day, and the porch swing is calling my name!

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3 Responses to I FEEL LIKE A KID AGAIN!

  1. Bren McClain says:

    Camille, your words honor me. Thanks so much for reading my novel, ONE GOOD MAMA BONE. I love that you couldn’t put it down. I see you’re a writer, too. I want to check out your work! Bren

  2. cskendall says:

    Hi, Bren! If I am still thinking about a book -themes explored, characters, etc. – days or weeks after finishing it, I consider that a good book. I am STILL thinking about “One Good Mama Bone.” I commented to one of the kids that in the book, you did excellently a couple of things that are very difficult to do…

    Luther Dobbins – here is a man who genuinely loves his son; inside his head, he wants what he thinks is best for LC. However, because of Luther’s own insecurities and his consuming need to prove himself to others, his actions consistently communicate exactly the opposite, ultimately destroying LC. Luther Dobbins is such a complex character – you want to hate him, but you end up feeling very sad for him instead.

    Sarah Creamer – here is a character that I feel like taught me some valuable lessons. She is matter-of-fact, take life as it comes (even when life is impossibly difficult or painful), do the next hard thing…and yet, she has such a sweet spirit. The way she relates to Ike Thrasher, for example (Ike was such a treasure!). Late in the book, when Sarah realizes that not only had her husband cheated on her, but so had her best friend Mattie – and best friends ought not do that kind of thing – although she is hurt, she is not bitter. Sarah is both honest – what Harold and Mattie did was terrible – AND she is forgiving. I guess what I am trying to say is: Sarah was so gracious that, for a long time – for years – she never really confronted, in her own mind, the wrongs committed against her; but when she finally did, she called wrong, wrong, and then got on with life.

    As someone who has spent much of her life around cows and who has kids involved in 4H and in showing livestock, I thought the whole Mama Red/Lucky/Fat Cow theme could have been pulled from my own world. 🙂 My daughter Helen (she shows lambs) and I both cried all the way home from the show sale/auction last year. We’ll cry again this year, too. LC and Emerson Bridge – they were both so brave!

    Thank you, Bren, for a job well done – LOVED the book!
    – Camille

    • Bren McClain says:

      Camille! Why, thank you so very much for this awesome analysis. As a writer yourself, you never know if what you’ve written will live on the page. I am thrilled that Luther and Sarah were alive for you. I am humbled. So your daughter shows lambs, huh? I get that you both cried. My Dad was the very first Grand Champion steer winner in my hometown of Anderson, SC. The year was 1941. Part of the reason I wrote the book was to understand his tears as a 82-year-old man.

      Thank you for your Goodreads rating, too!


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