Moppy: THE SUMMER BOOK, p. 55

This book, by Finnish writer Tove Jansson, in a translation by Thomas Teal, is sheer delight. The only two characters are a six-year-old named Sophia and her grandmother (who sneaks cigarettes as much as she can). Their dialogue is so unsentimental, so unlike any other grandparent/child interaction she’s ever read. They treat each other as absolute equals. For example, when Sophia starts using the word “bloody” in her speech, her  grandmother takes it up, too.

One day, Sofia adopts a kitten, which she names Moppy:

p. 55: Moppy turned wild and rarely came into the house. He was the same color as the island — a light, yellowish-gray with striped shadings like granite, or like sunlight on a sand bottom.

Moppy turns out to be a lot more trouble than a six-year-old can handle:

Sophia: You know what? I wish Moppy had never been born. Or else that I’d never been born. That would have been better.

Grandmother:  So you’re still not speaking to each other?

Sophia: Not a word. I don’t know what to do. And if I do forgive him — what fun is that if he doesn’t even care?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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