An odd thing happened yesterday. I got the two books that I ordered from Amazon.com, both of which I mentioned in yesterday’s blog- Ellie and The Elven King by Helen A. Rosburg and The No-Cry-Sleep-Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.
No, that’s not the odd thing, what’s odd is that one had a dedication that I absolutely loved and think is quite possibly one of the most fantastic and moving dedications I’ve ever read and the other had a dedication which had the potential to ruin the book for me- before I’d ever even gotten to the first page!

Before I describe which was which and why I felt so passionately about each of them, I have to stop for a moment and wonder, does the dedication really matter that much? I mean, what is the dedication for? I know there are a few authors who are reading this blog (only because you love me and you’re procrastinating something you should be doing- like writing werewolf BDSM *snicker*) but when you write a dedication, are you writing it for your readers? Or are you writing it for yourself and the one(s) you’re dedicating the book to? Do you really expect the dedication to have meaning for anyone else? And do you ever wonder if anyone ever reads those dedications?

Well, I do. I read the dedication for every book I read. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it helps me get into the author’s psyche and mindset just a bit. Gives me insight into who they are and where they’re coming from. Or maybe it’s because I’m waiting for the day I read a dedication and think “hey that’s me!!” (although it should be mentioned that Mandy did give me this thrill already so…Thanks Mandy!) Or maybe it’s because…well, if the author wrote it, I feel obligated to read it. But whatever the reason, when I get a book, I start at the beginning. And the beginning is not the first sentence of Chapter One (or the Prologue). The beginning is the dedication. So, to me, the dedication does matter!

Now, on to those two dedications that caused me to write this blog. First, Ellie and The Elven King by Helen Rosburg. I haven’t read the first sentence of Chapter One yet. But I’ve read the dedication and dammit, that dedication kind of pissed me off and almost ruined the book for me before I ever started. To understand, I have to give a brief description of what the book is: It’s a romance written as a fairy tale. The book looks like a children’s book, complete with illustrations. There, that was a brief description 😉 Now, the dedication; Ms. Rosburg wrote a fairly lengthy dedication (it takes up a whole page) and she thanked a number of people. Sounds fairly innocuous, right? It would be, but each person she thanked, she…well..I guess she basically assigned them a character in the story. Looks like she pretty well covered every character. And then she ‘signed’ the dedication. And assigned herself a character. I’ve been pondering why this created such a strong feeling of ‘ick’ for me. Maybe it’s because I want to be able to imagine the characters to the fullest extent of my imagination and feel as though she’s suddenly imposed pre-existing characteristics on them! That’s why making books into movies often doesn’t work (I believe) because people find that directors just can’t recreate and fully show what they can so vividly picture in their minds (although I can think of a few notable exceptions but that’s a whole other blog!)

But I do have to insert a caveat here. I wrote the first part of this blog earlier this morning, got distracted and had to save it, but have been dwelling on it all day. I know of authors who have written ‘real’ people into their stories and it has never irritated me like this dedication did. Perhaps it was the fact that she assigned EVERY character to a real person. Maybe it was because it included herself. I’m not sure but I do know that this dedication really rubbed me wrong (but it certainly grabbed my attention, didn’t it?)

Now, let me share with you the dedication to the No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. I don’t think I even need to speculate on the reason it touched me- it’s because she wrote to a part of me that can relate because I’m so in the mommy moment right now! This is Copyright 2002 by Elizabeth Pantley:

This book is dedicated to my husband, Robert, for all the things you do as a father to our children-things that may sometimes seem insignificant but are the pieces of life I cherish mostin the special place in my heart that only you know. This book is for you, my husband, for:

Wrapping our first child, Angela, in her very first diaper. Your delicate and vigilant movements that day make this the memory I cherish most from my first moments as a mother.

Carrying newborn Vanessa in a sling as we shopped the mall. For placing your hand under her diminutive body as you walked, for peeking at her face between sentences, and for that look of love and pride that glowed in your eyes.

Singing to David all those silly songs that made him laugh. And singing them with as much gusto and emotion the tenth time around as you had the first.

Rocking baby Coleton to sleep, even when your arms fell asleep before he did. And for never, ever ignoring a call of “Daddy” from a toddling little boy, no matter how busy you are.

Coaching our children and others in softball, with a heart as big as all the world. For the day when the opposing pitcher struggled on the mound and broke down in tears: How can I forget the scene as you emerged from the dugout with a box of tissue and draped your arm around her shoulder, encouraging her to finish the game?

Guiding our children in their studies with the perfect balance of seriousness (those goal-setting meetings) and fun (helping with homework while eating popcorn and watching the Mariners play baseball).

Inviting child after child into our home. And then, when your invitation includes the entire softball team to sleep over, staying up late so I can go to bed early.

Teaching the importance of thoughfulness, caring, and family by hugging Grama when she most needs a hug, surprising her when she most needs a surprise, and saying “thank you” for every deed great or small.

Revealing to our children the secrets of a long and lasting marriage-trust, honesty, respect, and affection- so that they may emulate ours and grow up to cherish marriages of their own.

Understanding that our baby’s bedtime ritual takes precedence over dinner parties; that a perfect French braid is as important as getting to the field on time; that breakfast out with Daddy on Sunday morning is an essential ingredient to a happy childhood; and that a closed door to a teenager’s room sometimes represents a more earnest invitation than an open one.

Recognizing that “Daddy” is your most significant title in life right now and maybe, just maybe, for always.

*******

Yeah. I think the dedication is important. I’m almost halfway done with this book. Haven’t started the other.

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