Chloe and I went to see “The Great Gatsby” this afternoon. I had to wait for her to finish reading the book, which she finally accomplished yesterday. We both enjoyed the movie very much and were pleasantly surprised by how faithful it was to the original text, despite the contemporary soundtrack (which, by the way, is excellent) and a superfluous Nick Carraway framing device. Chloe didn’t understand why some critics thought the movie was too over the top – she thought the characters and atmosphere Fitzgerald portrayed were completely over the top and that the film captured the debauched extravagance and immorality of the era quite well.
It’s fun to have Chloe as a movie date because she’s always extremely engaged in the films. Of course she is – she’s only 12 and what 12-year old doesn’t enjoy watching movies made for adults? And even though she wants to be taken seriously as a young person with adult tastes, she’s just as excited to see movies like “The Great Gatsby” and “Much Ado About Nothing” as she is to see “Despicable Me 2” and “Monsters University.”
I remember those awkward bridge years well. Feeling insulted when my grandparents still claimed I was a kid in order to pay less money for movie tickets and desperately wanting to participate in adult conversations when my family got together with friends…
Tonight we had friends over for a barbecue and Chloe was visibly happy not to be chased away when my friend and I were talking about some recent drama at Chloe’s school and other topics not necessarily appropriate for kids’ ears. She was the oldest child in the house and much preferred the company of the adults over that of the other kids. I know the feeling.
When we sat down for dinner, the three younger ones sat at one table while the four adults sat at another. And Chloe literally sat by herself between the two groups. When I invited her to join us, she merrily declined and responded that she was happy where she was. That’s where she and I differ. If my parents had offered to let me sit with them and their friends when I was 12, I would have jumped at the chance. But Chloe is still happy to be a kid as long as she can have her adult cake and eat it too.
Not a bad strategy, if you ask me.