Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lois Duncan: And You'll Know What I Did That Summer

It was my first summer in the United States, and of course, had no friends. I hardly spoke English at all, and felt trapped by the lack of public transportation that I was so used to having so readily at my disposal in Buenos Aires. There was, however, one bus. A free bus! It went from the Utah State Capitol building (two blocks away from my house), to the downtown Public Library. Only the weirdos took the bus in Utah (and me), but I was used to weirdos (there were plenty in Buenos Aires) and I was city savvy.

Fortunately, the Salt Lake City downtown library was huge and well stocked. I spent lots of time perusing through it's shelves and narrow rows. I think Lois Duncan's I Know What You Did Last Summer was on display. She had a new book out that year Don't Look Behind You, and all her previous works were on display. I picked up the copy of I Know What You Did Last Summer, because ... well, it was summer after all!

I had this big city girl habit of hanging out at coffee shops, so I took my freshly checked out copy around the corner to The Salt Lake Roasting Co., not that I drank coffee or anything, but its aroma reminded me of home, the city I had left behind, with friends, and a social life. Had I been in Buenos Aires with them, or them in Salt Lake with me, we'd be doing the same thing. Hanging out at a coffee shop, getting Submarinos (steamed milk with a bar of Swiss chocolate on the side, to dip) with a pastry. So that's exactly what I did, only, I was by myself. I tried to seem impervious to my loneliness, or at least, okay with it, or even, self imposed. But it was only a front, and the Roasting Co. did not offer Submarinos, only hot chocolate--a step down--but still good.

Needless to say, my hot chocolate got cold, and my pastry went untouched. That book hooked me from the first page. On my ride home, I hardly even noticed my fellow weirdo passengers on the free bus.  I walked home, nose in the book, trying not to trip on the uneven sidewalk. I got home and was happily transported to another world, effectively forgetting that I was lonely.

That book was the one that started a trend. A trend that not only changed my life, but made those hard years bearable. No. Enjoyable.

Thank you,  Lois Duncan, for writing.