Before I begin, I did an interview with Tara from 25 Hour Books. Be sure to check it out for a chance to win one of two copies of Forsaken By Shadow!
So it’s Monday. As a general rule, I really hate Monday. That whole getting up early, going to work, dealing with the inevitable pile up of stuff… Today actually hasn’t been too bad. Staff meeting only lasted 15 minutes, and there wasn’t a pileup of panicked student emails to sort through. Usually I have some idea what I want to talk about–you know, because I am a blogger extraordinaire :snerk:–but today I find myself with not a lot to say. Maybe it was a two cup morning.
Last night I finally made it through my first scene with Angry Boy (his name is Sawyer, actually, but in my mind he is Angry Boy because this totally embodies where he is at this stage in the book). It left me exhausted. I swear, I think everybody in this book has “issues” and ought to be on a therapist’s couch. It’s a book that deals with difficult issues–suicide, murder, the death of a parent–though they may not be what the story is about.
That’s one of the things I really love about YA now. As a genre it isn’t shying away from difficult issues. A lot of it is incredibly dark. Certainly, it’s nothing like the generally sanitized and boring stuff marketed to this age group when I was a teen. And I think it’s awesome. Because there’s nothing EASY about being a teen, and they need to have books that show them that. That show them that they are not alone.
Which is why people like Dr. Wesley Scroggins just generally piss me off. He’s a self-proclaimed Christian who evidently wants his kids to believe that the world is a happy cotton candy place where nothing horrible happens. He’s campaigning to have Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK from high school libraries and curriculums, calling it soft pornography.
This book is not pornography. It’s a book about rape. And a girl who chooses to remain silent about the horrible crime committed against her. Scroggins thinks it’s immoral. HELL YES. Rape is immoral. It is a sin. BUT IT IS NOT A SIN OF THE VICTIM. And whether you think it’s ugly or difficult or whatever, RAPE HAPPENS. To high school girls. To grown women. To children. It is a REALITY. And we have this ludicrous culture where the myth that they were somehow asking for it keeps getting perpetuated. As if speaking, dressing, or acting a certain way somehow makes a woman DESERVE to be violated.
No one deserves that kind of violence. No one deserves that kind of humiliation. No one asks for it.
And it’s that kind of sanctimonious, pretend it isn’t real, oh, she somehow asked for it attitude that makes books like SPEAK so absolutely VITAL. So that the girls this happens to can find them. Can learn that they are not alone. They are not dirty. They are not worthless. So that maybe, maybe, they will have the courage to speak out.
That’s a far more worthy mission for a book in public education than anything taught by a bunch of canonized dead white guys.