Rick Riordan I Love You

Dear Rick,
Let me tell you why I’m professing love for a man not my husband in a public post.
4 years ago, a week into summer vacation, my daughter trounced into the house with the CDs for your YA novel, The Lightning Thief, which had been assigned as summer reading. Ling had already borrowed the book from the library and finished it.
“We HAVE to listen to this book–it’s SO good, even though it’s really scary.”
That became the summer of Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief.  Percy Jackson learns he is a demi-god, the son of Poseidon, anathema to all the monsters and evil forces from ancient Greek mythology.  Having always been the worst student in his class, he now finds his ADHD serves him well as he fights to stay alive and defend his friends in modern day New York (Olympus rests on top of the Empire State building).  The books are funny, exciting, and provide an excellent motivation to delve further into Greek mythology.

We listened to the first 4 books of the series as we drove to and from Niagara Falls and all became rabid Rick Riordan fans, all except for my husband.  Scott and I have had a little struggle around long trips ever since I discovered that books on tape are the best way to keep the kids from melting, fighting and whining.  I enjoy listening to the books as much as the kids.  Scott would prefer to invest in our marriage by carrying on adult conversations.
The nerve of the guy!  He finds it annoying when he thinks I’m listening intently to him, only to discover I’ve drifted back to Olympus.  Sorry, Rick, I don’t think my husband likes you very much.
We went into mini-mourning when the last Lightning Thief book was published,.  But then to our delight we found out that you started a new series, The Kane Chronicles, based on Egyptian mythology.  And then to our joy we learned you started yet another series based on Roman mythology.  Even better–it intersected with Camp Half-Blood, the world of The Lightning Thief.
Even muchos more better, I discovered that giving the latest copy of your book to my son, NOT my daughters, gave him immense motivation to read.  He just loved the power of having a book they so desperately wanted.
Here are some other reasons I heart you:
  • I love that I know where my son will be after each new book you write is published—sprawled somewhere immersing himself in the latest adventure.  I have to order him to read most days, but when your book shows up, there’s no need for cajoling—he’s out there reading.
  • I love that Percy Jackson has ADHD and that ADHD is a strength.
  • I love that Carter Kane is African-American and so is Walt, the super hot charm-maker with skin the color of roasted coffee beans who’s dying from an Egyptian curse.  I appreciate that you get in the head and heart of an African-American boy with an African-American father who’s tried to ensure his boy will grow up strong, resilient and respected. I love that other characters are Indian, Egyptian, Chinese, and South American. Too often, great YA writers create an entirely White world, and only when their books are made into movies do some characters become multi-ethnic.  Thanks for including heroes that can personally inspire kids from all sorts of backgrounds.
  • I love that the female characters are strong, strong, strong—Annabeth, Sadie, Piper.  These girls are brave, loving, smart and funny, and although boys are always falling in love with them, they don’t exist in the story as mere love interests.  They risk their lives for their friends, loved ones and the fate of the world.  They’re beautiful, sassy and brilliant.
  • I love your books even if some monotheists probably worry that you’re pushing pantheistic religion.  I appreciate what you wrote on your website:
The Lightning Thief explores Greek mythology in a modern setting, but it does so as a humorous work of fantasy. I’m certainly not interested in changing or contradicting anyone’s religious beliefs. Early in the book, the character Chiron makes a distinction between God, capital-G, the creator of the universe, and the Greek gods (lower-case g). Chiron says he doesn’t want to delve into the issue of God, but he has no qualms about discussing the Olympians because they are a “much smaller matter.” The gods of Olympus are archetypes. They are deeply embedded in and inseparable from Western thought. The book pays tribute to the legacy of Olympus as one of the roots of our culture.
  • I love that I want to read the books as much as the kids.  That I have to sneak the books out of their bedrooms after they go to sleep so I can have a crack.
Thank you Rick for writing.  We will keep reading.
But watch out for my husband.
This was first published on What She Read

About Kathy Tuan-MacLean
  • Marie Martinez

    I’m totally with you on this one Kathy! My kids (and their cousin) spent all last summer learning the Greek language and writing letters to each other in ancient Greek. They built Mt. Olympus and other scenes from the book from legos, doll house pieces, cardboard, whatever. IT WAS AWESOME! And they all agreed the book was sooo much better than the movie!


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