jo mo's Reviews > The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
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's review
May 30, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: chick-lit, young-adult, family, reviews, made-into-movie
Read from January 09 to 14, 2012

When she was little, Hadley used to sneak into Dad's office at home, which was lined with bookshelves that stretched from the floor to the ceiling, all of them stacked with peeling paperbacks and hardcovers with cracked spines. She was only six the first time he found her sitting in his armchair with her stuffed elephant and a copy of A Christmas Carol, poring over it as intently as if she were considering it for her dissertation.

"What're you reading?" he'd asked, leaning against the doorframe and taking off his glasses.

"A story."

"Yeah?" he asked, trying not to smile. "What story?"

"It's about a girl and her elephant," Hadley informed him matter-of-factly.

"Is that right?"

"Yes," she said. "And they go on a trip together, on a bike, but then the elephant runs away, and she cries so hard that someone brings her a flower."

Dad crossed the room and in a single practiced motion lifted her from the chair--Hadley clinging desperately to the slender book--until, suddenly, she was sitting on his lap.

"What happens next?" he asked.

"The elephant finds her again."

"And then?"

"He gets a cupcake. And they live happily ever after."

"That sounds like a great story."

Hadley squeezed the fraying elephant on her lap. "It was."

"Do you want me to read you another one?" he asked, gently taking the book from her and flipping to the first page. "It's about Christmas."

She settled back into the soft flannel of his shirt, and he began to read.

It wasn't even the story itself that she loved; she didn't understand half the words and often felt lost in the winding sentences. It was the gruff sound of her father's voice, the funny accents he did for each character, the way he let her turn the pages. Every night after dinner they would read together in the stillness of the study. Sometimes Mom would come stand at the door with a dish towel in her hand and a half-smile on her face as she listened, but mostly it was just the two of them.

Even when she was old enough to read herself, they still tackled the classics together, moving from Anna Karenina to Pride and Prejudice to The Grapes of Wrath as if traveling across the globe itself, leaving holes in the bookshelves like missing teeth.

And later, when it started to become clear that she cared more about soccer practice and phone privileges than Jane Austen or Walt Whitman, when the hour turned into a half hour and every night turned into every other, it no longer mattered. The stories had become a part of her by then; they stuck to her bones like a good meal, bloomed inside of her like a garden. They were as deep and meaningful as any other trait Dad had passed along to her: her blue eyes, her straw-colored hair, the sprinkling of freckles across her nose.

Often he would come home with books for her, for Christmas or her birthday, or for no particular occasion at all, some of them early editions with beautiful gold trim, others used paperbacks bought for a dollar or two on a street corner. Mom always looked exasperated, especially when it was a new copy of one that he already had in his study.

"This house is about two dictionaries away from caving in," she'd say, "and you're buying duplicates?"

But Hadley understood. It wasn't that she was meant to read them all. Maybe someday she would, but for now, it was more the gesture itself. He was giving her the most important thing he could, the only way he knew how. He was a professor, a lover of stories, and he was buildng her a library in the same way other men might build their daughters houses.

kudos to angie who nudged me in the direction of the book
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by JazzyCat (new) - added it

JazzyCat Is this the first page of the book? Well, if it is, thanks! Now I really want to get it! :3

message 2: by jo (new) - rated it 2 stars

jo mo ♥Jasny♥ wrote: "Is this the first page of the book? Well, if it is, thanks! Now I really want to get it! :3"

nah, not the first page. it's smack in the middle somewhere.

message 3: by JazzyCat (new) - added it

JazzyCat Joe wrote: "♥Jasny♥ wrote: "Is this the first page of the book? Well, if it is, thanks! Now I really want to get it! :3"

nah, not the first page. it's smack in the middle somewhere."

Really? It doesn't seem like it! Huh.

message 4: by jo (last edited May 30, 2012 01:54AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

jo mo dustin lance black to write & direct the movie [ click ]

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