Don’t judge a book by its cover.
My mother used to say that to me all the time when I was a kid. She would say, “As my old Chinese grandmother used to say…” and some smart idiom or metaphor would follow dispensing wisdom each time. I never understood why she used the “old Chinese grandmother” line. What can I say, her grandmother was Scottish.
In those days, my mother was expressing her concern that I not be too quick to judge someone by their outward appearance. A lesson I appreciated and hope to live by every day.
But nowadays, because I am a writer in the romance genre I tend to think differently about this phrase. I take the meaning more literally. When I hear “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” I think, oh, yes, indeed. Do judge a book by its cover.
Admit it, when you are looking through the shelves of romance books in your favorite bookstore, the covers with the sexy, hot men usually jump right out at you and beg, “take me home!” So when we are talking about an actual book and not a metaphor, judge away.
As my wise fifteen-year- old son pointed out to me last week, “Mom, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” So when I finally publish my book, I hope my cover makes a good first impression and I will gladly say, “Go ahead and judge my book by its cover.”
Note: This was originally posted 8/12/11