Late last [calendar] year, I was browsing the bi-daily student email, I noticed an advertisement reading “Searching for Companion Reader for 8th grader.” The description explained that a local middle schooler was looking to read Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and wanted someone to shadow read it with her. I’d started Anna Karenina over the summer, but hadn’t had a chance to finish it with the excess of school reading I had ahead of me. I’d loved what I had read, though, so I was intrigued. Tolstoy has a reputation for being long-winded and boring, but I really like his writing style.
Despite being involved in entirely too much already, I reached out to this girl’s mother and arranged to meet them soon after. We were all hesitant during that first meeting, but I don’t regret it in the slightest!
She and I met up again earlier this week for the first time since December. We’ve gotten pretty far in the novel (though arguably not as far as we’d like to have), and, most importantly, we’ve enjoyed it! Exploring beyond the world of Pierre and Prince Andrei, we’ve gotten to know one another and get along amazingly despite the age difference.
When I was her age, I was also reading large books and making friends with as many older people as possible. I know the concept of “I see something of myself in her” is cliche, but it’s undeniable in this case. As we continue through the book, I’ll have a follow-up on our (hopefully) successful endeavor, but for now, wish us luck!