On parenting

Paradise by Judith McNaughtTess: “You know this makes us like all the evil meddling parents in all those novels who pay off the boyfriend from the wrong side of the tracks, and then are responsible for the seething hatred between their daughter and her boyfriend until they meet up twenty years later and have angry sex.”

Étienne: “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

Tess: “But by that time, the boyfriend has used his seething hatred to make a billion dollars just to show her father up and comes back as a master of the universe to get his revenge on the parents and his girlfriend, even though she has never stopped loving him and was heartbroken that he never tried to contact her—”

Étienne: “This is the part where the evil parents had never passed his letters along to the girlfriend, right? And hers got waylaid on the way to the post office? And then she finds out her parents threw money at him to get him to go away, and she turns on them?”

Tess: “Right. So it’s all a giant drama, and the evil parents get their comeuppance.”

Étienne: “I don’t think we need to fear a raging billionaire coming after us in twenty years.”

Tess: [sighs dreamily] “I love those books.”

Étienne: “You know what I like about you, Tess?”

Tess: “Which thing?”

Étienne: “You’re worse at being human than I am. You just have a better filter.”

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