I’m sure most people have heard the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” (often spoken in a semi-strict schoolmarm voice, followed by a wagging finger). Well, last autumn I had a first-hand experience with this idiom. Our store’s Algonquin publisher rep handed me a book titled Blind Your Ponies and urged me to read it. “Ugh,” I thought, “that sounds violent and disturbing. I’ll pass, thank you very much.” But my rep assured me that it was anything but. I trust him, so I took a big breath and started reading.
It turns out that Blind Your Ponies is one of the most cheerful, heart-warming books I’ve read in years. The story takes place in Willow Creek, a one-horse Montana town that feels a bit down on its luck. For one thing, the school’s basketball team has an 0-93 record the past five seasons, and Willow Creek is smack dab in the middle of high school basketball country. But when a 6’11” Norwegian exchange student enrolls at the school, the townspeople feel their luck may be changing. And with a dedicated coach the scrappy basketball team pulls together and plays with nothing but guts, heart and a big sense of humor. The exciting game scenes kept me on the edge of my seat, and the cast of quirky characters frequently brought a smile to my face.
So when a customer asks me for a “feel-good book” recommendation, I understand why they give me a strange look when I exclaim, “Oh, you should read Blind Your Ponies!”
Have you ever judged a book by its cover (or title) and been proven wrong? Share your stories in the comments section! –Hilary