My parents didn’t believe in censorship and always said no one ever got pregnant from reading a book. So one day when I was eleven or twelve, and having been an avid mystery reader since I was about six, I came home from the local drug store with a hardboiled mystery called “Dead Dolls Don’t Talk.” My mother took one look at it and said, very simply, “I don’t really think you’re going to like that.” Whoosh! You’ve never seen a book hit a trash can so fast in your life. After all, if my mother didn’t think I’d like it, it couldn’t possibly be worth reading.
Now, this was the woman who’d been carefully guiding my reading since she started reading me “Winnie the Pooh.” Greek mythology, Nancy Drew, then the British locked-room mysteries, science fiction (as it happens, this was also the woman who first suggested to a very young Philip K. Dick that he should consider submitting the short stories he was writing in her class), first with Ray Bradbury’s “The October Country” and then onto “Fahrenheit 451,” “Brave New World,” then Isaac Asimov…So when someone like that says, “I don’t really think you’re going to like that,” Whoosh! Now that’s authority!