I was amazed, then, when Wes Anderson dished up a remarkably similar family of child geniuses in his film The Royal Tenenbaums -- and came through it unscathed by Salinger's legal team. I loved the Tenenbaums with as much gusto as I loved the Glasses - from Margot with her play dioramas to Chad with his dalmation mice to Richie with his ballroom of paintings.
If I had to put my finger on what attracts me to these families, I'd have to say it's their combination of unbridled creativity and utter dysfunction. The narrative of enormous-yet-squandered brilliance and potential has always been very interesting to me, and I explore it a lot in my own writing. The Glasses and Tenenbaums have also been a big influence on me as I've created my own child-savant characters in my books: Cornelia in Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters is an expert in words; Franny in The Rising Star of Rusty Nail is a piano prodigy; and the title character in Tennyson is an uncannily sharp writer whose talents belie her age.
-- Lesley M.M. Blume
Read my 2008 interview with Lesley.
Read my 2006 interview with Lesley.
Follow the series of family posts.