A mother of a 14 year old daughter asked for a book for her daughter to read to help her make better choices. She said that the daughter is an "A" student, involved in activities, but has low self-esteem. She met a guy online who told her he was 15, but he was really 19. And when the parents weren't home, she had the guy over to the house. This (naturally) scared Mom, who was asking booksellers to help her find a book that showed characters maybe making bad choices but learning from them and figuring out how to make better ones. We came up with some books that have characters that do that (books by Sarah Dessen, for instance), however my comment to the bookseller dealing directly with the mom was that she can't just hand a book to the daughter and expect her to 'get' it. Even if a character in a book makes bad choices (or good ones, for that matter), the important thing is to sit down and TALK with the daughter about it. Have the conversation.
A woman came to the register. She was buying three books about anorexia and exercise addiction.
I said, "Along these same lines, Marya Hornbacher's book, Wasted is a book about her own struggle with anorexia and it's excellent. I read it several years ago and I still think about it."
The woman kind of whispered, and nodded her head toward the magazines, "They're for my son, over there. He's dealing with this," she said as she pointed to the words "exercise addict". "It's really a struggle, I'm worried about him, I want to help him and understand."
"I'll bet," I said, keeping my voice down too. "I don't remember if Marya Hornbacher dealt with this (me pointing to the words 'exercise addict') specifically, but she really was profound about this." (pointing to the word anorexia)
"I saw that one back there. I may have to look at it. I'll start with these.
If only a book could fix it," she said.
"Yes. Indeed. If only," I said.