The most unusual book that is one of my favourites involves a boy and his favourite major-league baseball player. Yes, you are reading a Duana article. It’s called Last Days of Summer and most people have never heard of it, but basically: Joey, age 12, is having a hard time during WW II. One day this third-baseman shows up to talk to Joey’s bullies, and what follows is one of the best buddy comedies I’ve ever read. On the one hand it’s criminal that the book isn’t better known, but on the other hand, I love having one of those amazing stories that is a wonderful secret. (Read it.) And I wonder if it’s the kind of book John Krasinski might have read. He’s the type – he has a fondness for books and for adapting them – Brief Interviews With Hideous Men and the book about the Chateau Marmont – and this would be right up his alley.
My thesis is furthered by the fact that, in the book, Charlie’s girl is called Hazel. And she’s the best. She’s smart and funny and cute but that’s not what defines her. Hazel has a life and a career and a storyline all her own, even in a book about boys and baseball.
And I started thinking that’s what a John Krasinski and an Emily Blunt would want for their daughter. Smart, self-posessed, maybe totally able to be in a showbiz career if she wants to but certainly not bound to it, she’s just as likely to become a tenured professor of history or an expert developer – aren’t those totally qualities you associate with a Hazel?
It’s not the craziest name. It’s not even the craziest one I bet was on their list – I could have seen them go with Delphine or Finola. But it stands up, especially in the world of the new classic names where there’s nothing too old or musty or antiquated to be brought back out and applied to an infant. I like it.
It’s worth nothing, too, because I know everyone else will – they’re not the first ones with a Hazel. Julia Roberts did it first. But let’s be honest, Julia and the Krasinskis are of completely different generations and circles. I don’t think the two Hazels are going to spend a lot of time in each other’s company, and I think it’s kind of good, on some level, that they acknowledged that. “Yeah, it’s not really replication of a name because she’s still Julia Roberts.” You know?
What do you think?
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