Fast forward to the beginning of February. One of the Clydesdales at my sister's house had a foal, so my daughters and I went up for the day. I took the book with me. I had already read it, but I wanted to read it a second time. We ended up staying quite a bit longer than planned, because the baby horse was having a rough time, so I helped out with tube feeding, medicating, and encouraging her to get up and walk around. While we were there, my niece commented that she had not yet gotten to read the book and asked if she could borrow it. I agreed, as long as she PROMISED to take good care of it. She swore to me that she would keep it in the same pristine condition it was in (it was in almost brand-new condition). I kept the dust jacket at home so it wouldn't get torn.
Now fast forward to yesterday. My brother-in-law's b-day is next weekend, but my mother will be in Ohio, so we all got together at my sister and brother-in-law's house for his birthday dinner yesterday evening. Several times my daughters and I asked my niece for my book and she kept trying to get me to allow her to keep it until Easter, because she was almost done reading it for the sixth time. I told her I really wanted to have the book back, because I had only gotten to read it one time and it was a Christmas gift from my kids. Finally, as we were about to leave, I told her I needed her to give me the book. She reached under their coffee table (about a 3-inch space) and pulled out a book with the dust jacket on it from the third book in the series. She took off the dust jacket and handed me the book, saying "Remember, you told me you knew it was like this when you dropped it off." HUH??? Here's what my book now looks like:
The spine is broken and the cover is peeling off:
The pages are badly damaged and MOLDY!!!
Look closely - can you tell where they "tried" to clean it up with either White-Out or some kind of bleach cleaner?
More of the damage to the spine. Now, to be truthful, this area of the spine had a TINY tear in it when I loaned the book to my niece. However, the tear was NOT this bad.
My book now looks like it's more than 20 years old!!! It has obviously been dropped in water. The spine is broken, the hard cover is peeling off in several places, and the ENTIRE exposed edge of the pages is warped and MOLDY! To top it off, it appears that they TRIED to clean it with something (there are white streaks, as if they tried to use some kind of bleach cleaner on it). I was getting frustrated, but then I REALLY lost it when my sister even chimed in saying that the book was in such deplorable condition when I "dropped it off"!!! WHAT?!?!?! I had been there doing them a favor, helping with the sick baby horse when my niece ASKED if she could borrow the book!! No WONDER she wanted to keep it until Easter! She was trying to buy time to go get a replacement copy. Okay, fine...it's just a book...but it was more than that. It was a Christmas gift from my kids that they worked HARD to earn. Now it's trash. The least my sister and niece could have done is own up to accidentally ruining it and offered to buy a new one, right?
What can I do? I can't afford to replace the book and my daughters are devastated. Theresa cried herself to sleep last night. Thanks a lot, dear sister and niece.