Dear Mr. Albom,
After three classes discussing The Time Keeper with my eighth grade English students this week, I am more convinced than ever of the truth of its themes. I am a 37-year-old English teacher at Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but until a year ago, I was a lawyer working hundred-hour weeks in Manhattan. Now I’m using my life, my limited and precious time, in a far more gratifying manner–this week that happens to be teaching your book. The Time Keeper was the only required reading this summer, and the girls are relating to Sarah, finding morbid fascination with cryonics and learning alongside Dor.
While discussing authorial intent (a simpler version of a new criticism discussion), I showed a clip of a video interview you did while promoting the book. Several of the girls piped up—“Oh, we’ve seen him,” and proceeded to tell the class about billboards advertising your trip to Chattanooga this fall. “Wouldn’t it be so cool,” said one of the girls, “if he could come talk with to us about the book?” Before I could agree, many voices jumped in insisting you were too busy, too famous. And the student whose idea it had been backed down immediately saying, “Yeah, I guess he wouldn’t come.” How can you end there? It seemed like a teachable moment . I told them we don’t know whether he’ll come unless we ask him.
So I’m asking.
When you visit Chattanooga on Friday November 7, 2014 for the Holiday Hearts hospice benefit, would you please also come visit with seventy-nine 13-year-old girls who have gained a lot from reading your work and who would gain even more from getting to discuss it with the author? Girls Preparatory School is a five-minute drive from the convention center where your evening event will take place. School funds are tight, and I suspect there is little or no honorarium to offer you, though I will certainly go to the administration to ask if you are amenable to visiting. We would of course accommodate your preferred format: round table discussion, book reading, informal question and answer or prepared remarks.
The girls may well be correct that you are too busy, but what a transformative event it would be for them if you are willing. These girls are curious, open-hearted, engaged, engaging and earnest. If your schedule cannot permit it, I understand. But if you make the visit, rest assured, you will not regret it.
Thank you for writing The Time Keeper. And thank you for considering a visit to The Girls Preparatory School to discuss your book with your readers on November 7th.
Below is a link to The Girls Preparatory School so you may learn more about us if you like:
Amy G. Piper
8th Grade English
Girls Preparatory School, 205 Island Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37405
No Limits. Prepared for Life.