An Ode to DollyThursday, March 10, 2011
I LOVE Dolly Parton. She is up there with Bette Midler as one of my all-time favourite sassy songstresses - not because of her music, particularly (although have you listened to Jolene recently? Soooo good!), but because she is just all-round fabulous.
It's easy to look at Ms Parton, with her hair, her nails, her enormous... assets, and assume she's just some fluffy bit of nonsense, a joke. But underestimate her at your peril - she might look like an older version of Heidi Montag or (*shudder*) Katie Price, but the similarities end there. This is the woman who said, "I`m not offended by dumb blonde jokes because I know that I`m not dumb. I also know I`m not blonde." Smart, talented AND funny. I love.
What, you may wonder, has prompted this little love note to Dolly? Well, just this week the queen of country's Imagination Library project has been rolled out across Scotland. The scheme will give children who are living in care a free age-appropriate book every month until their fifth birthday. That's potentially a library of 60 books for each and every child.
I can't even begin to tell you how happy this makes me. As a child, I was a total book worm. When Fin and I recently popped in to visit my old childhood next-door neighbour, she regaled him with stories about how all the other children would play in the street while I would be sitting in the house with my nose stuck in a book. This was (a) embarrassing and (b) only partially true, but still, there's no denying I love a book.
On Saturday night, as part of World Book Night, I was lucky enough to be given a free novel as I was sitting in the pub. I was ridiculously over-excited about it. Can you imagine being a child in care, with all the complex emotional and social baggage that this entails, and being given the simple gift of a new book every single month? Reading has always been one of the greatest pleasures in my life and I can only hope it will bring these children all the excitement, adventure, terror and joy that it has brought me.