Judith Viorst, by virtue of that book she wrote last year when Alexander and his family moved in with her temporarily and made her shiver for the fate of her velvet upholstered parlor chairs (Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days: An Almost Completely Honest Account of What Happened to Our Family When Our Youngest ... Came to Live with Us for Three Months), sticks in my mind as some kind of Joan Didion character. Sharp-eyed, funny, a little uncompromising, extremely self-aware. She lives in D.C., not New York or CT, and D.C. to me implies a certain Nina Totenbergitude.
Or a Mrs. Basil E. Frankweileriness. Like she'd be a person who speaks to children directly and appraisingly, a person who has no patience for the kind of performances that adults sometimes put on in front of children, and who finds the recitations of cuteness or precociousness that children are sometimes expected to roll out in front of adults likewise appalling.
Am I assuming too much about Judith Viorst? Well, clearly. What do I know? Maybe she speaks baby talk to grocery clerks and wears amusement park souvenir sweatshirts every day. But nothing in her new book Lulu and the Brontosaurus would lead me to believe that she is anything but the classy, smart-alecky dame I imagine.