My first review, age 10


The “Reviews” section of the News Tribune and Herald is written by many people. Today’s guest writer is acclaimed book critic Jason Gabler.

“I am now making my covenant with you: I promise that never again will all human beings be destroyed by flood; never again will a flood destroy the earth.” (Gen. 9:11) This passage is quoted by Linus, the religious not-quite-fanatic brother of Lucy, a fussbudget and close friend of Charlie Brown, a loser in a C.M. Schultz [sic] strip, Peanuts. This wonderful man and his life can be read about in the book Charlie Brown and Charlie Schultz, a printing by World Publishing. The book tells aboutthe life of Charles Schultz, and includes many examples of how his changing life experiences brought about his comic situations. I highly recommend the book for readers of all ages.

Is this my first-ever review? It’s handwritten and pasted into the Life section of USA Today from March 12, 1986. (The front page notes that “The Phantom of the Opera is on the loose again in a new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical”; and an article on “1986’s perfect prom dresses” declares that “last year’s raunchy Madonna look is history.” One preferred style is “a soft, feminine dress like Molly Ringwald wears in the movie Pretty in Pink.”)

I would have been ten years old, and enrolled in fifth grade at Holy Rosary Grade School in Duluth. The huge headline and the long Bible quote suggest that I was looking to burn up that single page with as little effort as possible, which would have been typical of me. I’d like to think that the big-headed byline was also a space-burning tactic, but I probably did actually think that I was a great critic. Some things never change.