The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford, 1919.

Another book of my dad’s which turned up in my collection, which I re-read before returning. The gimmick is that Daisy was 9 years old when she wrote it. Classic first line: “Mr. Salteena was an elderly man of 42 and was fond of asking peaple to stay with him. ” It’s quite readable and very funny, with some perceptive satire, inadvertently or not. The amazing thing to me is that she actually wrote it all the way through to the end in a more-or-less coherent way–and yet didn’t grow up to write anything further. I wonder if there was some adult aid or interference, but I haven’t found anything to confirm that.

Books by young prodigies–like She Was Nice to Mice, which came out in 1975 when I was 10 and the author was 12 (my gosh, it was Ally Sheedy, the actress!)–always made me feel that I was not measuring up. I’m not sure where that ridiculous sense of competition came from, but I distinctly remember being around 8 or 9 and learning that John Stuart Mill could read and write ancient Greek at the age of 4. I mentally threw up my hands at that one.

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