When the animated movie Despicable Me came out, I watched it on a teeny tiny video screen on the back of an airplane seat and still absolutely loved it.

The premise is about an evil genius who becomes good and voiced by Steve Carell, it’s really worth watching!

The funny thing was that when the movie Megamind came out, I almost resisted watching it because it operated on basically the same premise. An evil genius who becomes good.

And the fact that it came out after Despicable Me, further prejudiced me against it.

It was my son who convinced me, after reading positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, to give it a chance, and boy was I glad I did!

I’m surprised that Megamind hasn’t received more buzz. It’s a brilliant little gem, and yes, I do think it’s better than Despicable Me. It reaches a depth that DM just doesn’t plumb.

In fact it was so good, I actually thought it might have done better as a live action flick. It was almost too deep to be a children’s movie.

My point is that stories with incredibly similar premises can bear very little resemblance to each other.

A little while ago, a good friend informed me that there was a book out there about an Afghan girl with a cleft palate, who yearns to read.

Sound familiar?

Well it just happens to be the premise of my own book Wanting Mor.

When I found out that this book called Words in the Dust was written by an American soldier named Trent Reedy and had a preface by Katherine Paterson herself, I felt my knees go weak.

I immediately checked out Trent Reedy’s blog and website, and the worst part was that just reading his thoughts made him sound so incredibly nice and reasonable! 

And I thought who’d ever read my book, when his was around?

I also thought I had to read his book! For the sake of my Muslim booklist, I had to read it.

Plus I was curious.

So I contacted him and asked him to have his publisher send me a copy to review for my blog and booklist.

What surprised me the most was that he recognized my name and immediately told me that he’d felt exactly the same way when he’d found out that I’d written a book like his, and I’d written it first.

That was a bit reassuring.

But when I did receive his book, it was so beautiful and I read the first few pages and was thoroughly depressed. It didn’t help that I received it during one of the busiest segments of my presentation schedule. I really didn’t have time to read it, so I lay it aside with every intention of getting to it as soon as I could.

Finally got to it, and what was absolutely amazing was how little his story resembled mine.

I should have had more faith in the idea that you could give the same premise to two different people and get two different stories! I knew that intrinsically, and yet still I feared.

After reading Words in the Dust I have nothing but admiration for Mr. Reedy and for what he has accomplished.

His book really adds to the field of literature about Afghanistan, and helps to dispel the whole idea of ‘one story’ for that culture.

I’ll definitely be adding it to the booklist when I get a chance!

But in the mean time I highly recommend his book!