By KATE HUNTER
On Monday night, I received an email from a girl called Sarah*.
I’m guessing she’s about twelve years old:
I am trying to complete an English assignment for Tuesday which is tomorrow. I am reading your awesome novel, “Mosquito Advertising.”
I haven’t read all of it yet but I need to know how the character Katie is judgemental towards her friend Lorraine.
If you could please just give me the page numbers. If possible can you reply before tomorrow? If so that would be fantastic! THANKYOU
At first I was rapt to know that anyone was reading my book. And how nice to hear her describe it as ‘awesome’. But then I realised Sarah hadn’t finished it (I suspect she hadn’t started) and she was asking me to help her CHEAT.
What to do?
The right thing, obviously, would have been to tell her to knuckle down and finish the book. It’s not that long, and a bit of midnight oil burning never hurt anyone. No child learns the tough lessons of life by taking the easy option. Really?
But a big part of me admired her her ticker. It’s a bold, some would say ballsy thing to do, Google an author and email for help. I wouldn’t have done it.
But then, I couldn’t have. Email and Google were science fiction in 1982. Still, putting technical impossibilities to one side, would I have written to the author of To Kill A Mockingbird?