This question is the bane of my existence and I hear it every so often from people who I would really rather mind their own business:
In my oh-so-knowledgeable opinion, there is one question that is far worse than all the others ever asked (including, ‘Is that a zit?’).
So, what’s your book about?
Usually when people ask this question, they act so innocent, like they don’t know they just asked the single most difficult question to answer in all of existence. They tilt their head and give you wide eyes as if they’re truly interested, but if you take longer than ten seconds for your answer, they start to stare into the distance and you know they are replaying the latest Glee episode in their head.
Me: “It’s ummm … it’s about this girl who has a tail? And she goes to private school? And then she blows up a testing facility and saves the world? Oh, and there’s wolves and a goat.”
Or, you might take a more logical approach and try to relate it to something they understand.
Me: “It’s like X-men, but for kids, and kinda like the Golden Compass, oh wait, you never read that, so think of a drug institution … erm…”
I become so anxious for them to understand, that I start sweating from the pressure to summarize 60,000 words with only 10. I stammer that it’s not as boring as it sounds, and I cling desperately to their arm as they try to get away from the crazy lady talking about goats and drug rehabilitation institutions for kids.
I mean, what is the best way to handle this situation? Really? What am I supposed to do? Personally, I have found that there is only way to satisfactorily answer this question:
Me: It’s like Harry Potter.
Them: Oh, that sounds amazing!