I recently emailed my editor the SIMPLY FROM SCRATCH dedication, but I won’t reveal it here and now, eight months before you can hold the book in your hands. I like to imagine readers cracking it open for the very first time, turning the first few pages, and absorbing the dedication as part of the book itself.
I’m reminded of the scene in Annie Hall when Annie and Alvy arrive late for a movie, and Alvy refuses to go in, insisting that a film starts with the opening credits, which they’ve missed. For me, a book dedication is like the opening credits.
Here’s another analogy: If opening a book is getting settled in a rowboat, then the dedication is the first little push, the first oar-stroke that propels the boat from shore. Well, maybe not always, but sometimes, with some books.
Then again, it can be illuminating to consider dedications on their own. Sometimes they lend the ensuing story an extra layer of meaning; sometimes they carry their own weight and power.
Here are a few cool ones:
From Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts: “For Dennis, who trusts the truth of miracle and magic.”
From Sula by Toni Morrison: “It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you. This book is for Ford and Slade, whom I miss although they have not left me.”
From The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe:
“My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be
your affectionate Godfather,
What’s your favorite book dedication?