I printed my oldest son’s assignment sheet this week for his upcoming book report. He’s a junior in high school, and I’m sure he will do just fine on his report. But printing out the report reminded me of the time my mother allowed me to read Elvis & Me by Priscilla Presley for my summer book report during elementary school. My report was filled with salacious stories from the book, most of them detailing the King and ‘Cilla’s drug-addled sexual relationship with each other and their other sexual partners. Our school librarian was aghast at my report and quickly arranged a parent-teacher conference to discuss the myriad of reasons this particular book was inappropriate for an 8 year old boy. Was it my mentions of threesomes, sexual role play, or frequent drug use that raised the red flag?
Mom & Dad read over my report during the meeting in the library. I sat there petrified knowing full well this entire ordeal was not going to end well for me. But, in my defense, my parents knew I had selected this book for my report. They watched me read the book and write the report in our home office. Regardless, I was afraid as Dad sat stonefaced at the library table. Mom being Mom, she kept asking my teacher if she had any issues with my reading and writing.
Not at all, they were told. John’s paper is very well-written. He has obviously read this book. But that’s not the point, the sweet librarian explained. There’s a larger issue at play here, she said.
After a moment or two of eerie silence, Dad finally spoke.
“You’re absolutely right,” Dad said with a nod. “We shouldn’t have let John waste his time reading a book about Elvis. We apologize.”
He then got up and went back to his law office.