` Getting the point — imaginary family values

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The Seven-Year-Old had been spooked by a book he had been reading in his bed, and I was looking for something to distract him from his fears. I picked up Sally Miller Gerhart’s Wanderground, flipped through it, and then thought better of offering it to him.

“This probably isn’t a book for seven-year-olds,” I said, recalling that although the world the book portrays is bucolic, some of the stories within are less so. “It’s a book about a bunch of women who live without any men.”

The child, who had seen the map in the frontispiece, asked, “Is ‘Dangerland’ where all the men live?”

“How did you figure that out?”

(I do actually recommend Wanderground… to grown-ups. For the purpose of this book, puberty is probably a necessary condition of grown-up-hood, but not a sufficient one.)

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