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  • Writer's pictureTam Chronin

The Best Review

This weekend was amazing. My husband went up last Wednesday to set up camp, and I rode up with my step-son and his wife on Friday. It's become almost a tradition, where my husband spends time alone in the woods, we miss each other, and we're happy to see each other in the end.

He always brings a book or two up to read, which is about the only time I see him sit down with a book. He's the type who never sits still long enough to read, although he does enjoy it if the book is good enough. Still, every time we've gone camping he'll be a quarter of the way through whatever book he'd brought with him, and he might or might not pick it up again later.

When he said he was going to take Elemental with him this year, I assured him it wasn't necessary. I wasn't sure if it was really his kind of story. I've seen him enjoy classics (Les Miserables is his favorite book), or comedy. In high school he read Dragonlance, but he was a huge fan of Tasslehoff, the comedic kender. I had a sinking feeling that my book was going to be relegated to the "quarter read" pile and put back on the shelf, followed by some kind but noncommittal comments about how it was well written but just not his thing. (Creative types can be notoriously insecure, if you hadn't noticed.)

I'm not new to sharing something I've written with someone I love and receiving mixed responses. The fan art shared above was a gift from an ex-girlfriend. She loved the first novel I wrote (published on LiveJournal, but otherwise not available) that she showered me with art and asked me out almost immediately. She's still a huge fan of mine despite our status of exes and all the awkwardness and hurt that followed for a few years. On the flip side, my ex-boyfriend of ten years glanced at one of my early short stories, told me he hated reading books by women, and refused to read anything I wrote while telling me I should hurry up and get published so we'd be rich and he could quit his job. Let's just say I'm wary when it comes to sharing with people I love.

When we arrived Friday afternoon, my husband was lounging in his hammock, relaxing. He didn't even bother to get up to greet us, like he normally would.

Odd, but so be it. I figured he'd been drinking and was happily relaxed for a change. Can't fault a guy for that! So, we started unpacking, said our hellos, etc. Once I had all my stuff out of the car I walked over and set up a chair. He'd been reading. Better than that, he'd been reading Elemental. Better than THAT, he was most of the way through.

He finished the book in about a day and a half.

Even better, he was quoting his favorite passages at me, and anticipating what would happen next. Not telling me what to write, no, just telling me what he expected to be coming, based on clues I'd left earlier in the text. Some were things I'd set aside for the next book, or perhaps later in the series. Some were threads I'd dropped and forgotten but I sure as hell wouldn't forget them now. He asked intelligent questions. He'd paid attention. He'd actually enjoyed himself. Like, in a way that couldn't be faked. He was enthusiastic.

I was in shock.

He plans on writing his own review at some point in time when he finds time to sit still again. Not for me. I already got the review I need. No. He wants to convince others to read Elemental. Not so that he can gain something financially. He knows writers write for the love of writing, since the paychecks usually aren't there. No, he wants to tell others that they're missing out.

That's the best review of all.

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