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A Potentially Toxic Recommendation

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 29, 2022

When I was growing up, there weren’t many kids my age whose company I enjoyed. At church, I usually ended up in the little library, which was frequented almost exclusively by elderly women. I befriended a few of them enough that one asked if I had any book recommendations.

After a few seconds of thought, I gave her the title and author of a creative nonfiction book I’d recently finished and thoroughly enjoyed. She thought it sounded interesting, so she went and got a copy from her local library.

Two weeks later, she’d finished the book, so I asked her how she’d liked it.

Old Lady: “You know, it’s the funniest thing. When I started reading it, my husband gave me an odd look and asked if everything was all right. When my son saw me reading it, he pulled me aside to ask if everything was okay with me and my husband. My daughter-in-law wanted to know if everything was all right at home. And my granddaughter — she’s eleven — asked if everything was okay, as well!”

At that moment, I remembered that I’d recommended to her a book titled “The Poisoner’s Handbook.”

I wonder how much worry I inflicted on her family with a simple book recommendation.

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