I Need An Adult is a reading group aimed at parents of 4 to 7 year old children. Parents of any age children welcome.
This month the club will be discussing Twenty Days With Julian and Little Bunny by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
On July 28, 1851, Nathaniel Hawthorne's wife Sophia and daughters Una and Rose left their house in Western Massachusetts to visit relatives near Boston. Hawthorne and his five-year-old son Julian stayed behind. How father and son got along over the next three weeks is the subject of this tender and funny extract from Hawthorne's notebooks.
"At about six o'clock I looked over the edge of my bed and saw that Julian was awake, peeping sideways at me." Each day starts early and is mostly given over to swimming and skipping stones, berry-picking and subduing armies of thistles. There are lots of questions ("It really does seem as if he has baited me with more questions, references, and observations, than mortal father ought to be expected to endure"), a visit to a Shaker community, domestic crises concerning a pet rabbit, and some poignant moments of loneliness ("I went to bed at about nine and longed for Phoebe"). And one evening Mr. Herman Melville comes by to enjoy a late-night discussion of eternity over cigars.
Gone is the density and brooding of his fictional prose, replaced by straightforward recording and clearly registered observation expressed in everyday vocabulary. An undemanding parent, he quite adores his son, though Julian's volubility astounds and occasionally wearies him. He likes to call the little boy "the old gentleman," but otherwise there is nothing precious or sentimental in his writing about him. The journal is a tiny classic of parental writing about children. - Booklist, Ray Olson
Born on the fourth of July in 1804, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the stories that lie at the heart of the American Romantic movement. His portraits of colonial life reflect his Puritan heritage and offer fascinating profiles of individuals who strive for freedom from social conventions.