It has been a weight of guilt (not really) I have been carrying for a while.
Back in January I was going to see Brad Meltzer promote his book The Inner Circle and I asked my mom if she wanted to go with me. She said no. I asked her if there was an author she would like to go see and my mom answered Lisa Scottoline.
"Who?" I said.
"Lisa Scottoline. She writes a column for the Philadelphia Inquire and she also has written a bunch of novels. I saw her on some local cable show and I just love her." My mom gushed about Lisa Scottoline for a few more minutes.
"Fine. When and if she comes around I will take you to a book signing." I said.
I never heard of Lisa Scottoline and I decided to do some research. She wrote a bunch of books. She was from the Philly area. She wrote some funny columns for the paper. She seemed down to earth. She had a new book called Save Me coming out in a few months. I emailed her my story about how I took my Mother-in-law to a book signing but not my mom and asked her if she could help. I never heard back. I emailed again. Nothing.
One night while I was Twittering I saw that Lisa tweeted something to Brad Meltzer. I jumped into the twit stream and asked Brad to Twitterduce me to Lisa. I don't know if he ever did but I did get a tweet from Lisa saying she would be doing signings in the Philly area in April. She suggested I come to one of those events.
I told my mom and we made plans to attend. My mom then read three more of her books and became a huge fan/stalker of Lisa Scottoline.
We went to the Lisa Scottoline book signing last night. We waited at the book store amongst the stacks of prenatal care and early child learning books (Scottoline does not write books about prenatal care that was where the sigining was taking place) talking to other fans. Every now and then someone would approach and ask a question about the store, which I would answer to best of my ability. Finally the author showed up right on time. Lisa Scottoline was funny and full of energy as she spoke to the group of about150 people. She was quick witted but also serious about her work. Very, very funny.
Scottoline spoke about how the seeds of the idea of the book were planted in her brain. She said that her friend was asked one night to pick up another small child with her own after school. When her friend arrived at the school she realized that she only had one car seat. The internal emotional, moral and legal debate about which child should get the car seat really weighed on her friend. Who should get the car seat?
Lisa Scottoline asked everyone in the crowd who they would give the car seat to. 90 percent said they would give the car seat to the other child. Lisa then asked who would give the car seat to their own child, standing in the back I raised my hand. Lisa asked me why. I was afraid I was about to embarrass my mom who was sitting to my right.
"I don't know if you ever had to deal with a car seat, but they are a pain in the ass." I said. "They do not make it easy to adjust and re-adjust the straps and buckles and seat belts for the weight and size of another kid. I would have put my kid in the car seat out of the simple fact it was already fitted perfect for him."
People in the audience appreciated my answer and Scottoline threw a bag of Herr's potato chips at me and then moved on (The bag of chips, as I later learned, comes from a lesson Lisa' mom told her about always bringing food to a gathering. Lisa always brings PA based food to her signings to support PA). Her entire talk was funny and engaging. She even took the time to point out and recognize a fan that just earned their U.S. citizenship and another fan whose daughter was in the military. Scottoline also explained that her book has nothing to do with car seats but it does involve a what would you do type of dilema.
Lisa has law degree, is twice divorced, has an adult daughter, and loves her dogs. She even brought her dogs to the book signing. Which made me laugh to no end. My mom is very very afraid of dogs, it is a borderline phobia.
My mom and I stood in line for about 30 minutes waiting to get a chance to meet Lisa Scottoline. I used some Jedi mind tricks and some old school "my mom has a condition" tricks to get us through the line a bit quicker. My mom was absolutely ecstatic to meet Lisa Scottoline, she was grinning from ear to ear. Lisa was so awesome taking her time to chit chat with my mom. My mom beamed the entire time.
Guess what? My mom soooo not afraid of Lisa Scottoline's dogs. She even said they were cute. What the?
I then mentioned the Poop and Boogies blog to Lisa and gave her my card. I could see either a hint of fear or recognition in her eyes as she read it. She gave my mom three more bags of Herr's chips.
My mom was very excited as we left the book store. I asked her if I embarrassed her at all.
"No, not in front of Lisa." She answered. "But you did when you were acting like a book store employee."
We got into the car and I breathed a sigh of relief, I no longer felt the guilt over my head. I finally took my mom to a book sigining.
My mom handed me the bags of Herr's chips.
"I can't believe I gave up chips for lent. " she said.
And that, right there, made my whole night.
I have never read a Lisa Scottoline book. Now, after hearing her speak, and listening to my mom, I am very interested in reading some of her novels. If you get a chance go check her out.
Lisa's question in the beginning of her talk really struck me. What would you do? You are asked to pick up your small child's friend, two kids, one car seat, do you give the car seat to your kid or the other kid?
Or two book signings same day at the same time, one is your Mother-In-law's favorite author and one is your mother's favorite author, who do you choose?