Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Reading Assignment: The Last Samurai

I'm in a happy place right now as far as books are concerned, but I'm not far along enough in either of the books I'm reading to offer them as an assignment, so I'm using a book I read a long time ago for this week.

The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt is about a single mother with a profoundly gifted son who is obsessed with learning Greek.  Since I'm the mother of a profoundly gifted son who's obsessed with learning Latin, I immediately felt a kinship to these characters. You may not be the mother of a gifted kid obsessed with dead languages, but you will still probably like this book as it's funny and well-written. It's one of those books that I continue to think about, years after I've read it.  A couple of direct quotes have become a permanent part of my inner dialogue.

Giftedness is practically a taboo subject in this country.  If you speak about your gifted child you are bragging.  If you complain about the issues of the gifted, you're an asshole.  Public schools put up a stone wall of resistance when your gifted child is failing out of their shitty gifted and talented program and you try to advocate for him. The implied question:  How dare you ask for something for your child, when there are others who can't even read? That, at least, has been my experience.  Where else, then, is there to turn for support but fiction?

Bloggy business:  I am doing another trial of turning off blogger's irritating word verification.  If my blog has been rejecting you lately, try again.  It does seem like the word verification is friendlier to people who have blogger accounts.  People tell me they try four and five times and get rejected.  If I'm logged in as "Patience" I can type any close approximation into other blogger blogger's word verification and it's accepted.


  1. Amen to the taboo subject of giftedness.

  2. This sounds like a book I could recommend to a few friends. How can people not celebrate real genius, regardless of its manifestation? And how can people not recognize that giftedness requires its own brand of special attention? Sheesh.

  3. I agree about gifted kids being a taboo topic. And don't get me started on the attitudes toward gifted kids in our school district.

    My kids are smart and I don't mind saying so, even if it does make me look like an asshat.

  4. Interesting, thanks for recommending this.

  5. Never heard of the book. Didn't Tom Cruise make a film of this?

    Regarding gifted children. As a teacher I love having such kids in my classes. I strive to give them advanced work, so they can still achieve at their level. Even though they are gifted, they still need support and encouragement.

    Keep pushing for better. They're the hope for the future.

  6. "The Last Samurai" is one of my favorite books. I mentioned it years ago in the old homeschooling section of my blog and several people said they just couldn't get into it. I feel better knowing I'm not alone in really liking it!