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Friday News: Rose Marks found guilty on fraud; Rainbow Rowell rejected...

Deveraux, who sought Marks’ help to deal with an abusive husband and the death of an 8-year-old son in a 2005 ATV accident, expressed no such ambivalence. “It was never a friendship,” she said. “There’s no sadness. None.” Unlike other victims, she said she doesn’t care if she gets back any of the money she lost. www.palmbeachpost.com

I guess these parents have never, ever sat with their teen kids. Just watch a group of them play x-box. You think Call of Duty has no curse words? No violence? No inappropriate content for teenagers? GAG ME. Jayne reviewed it here.  Ironic that it is banned book week. Omaha.com

  • The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
  • The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen
  • The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt

Responding to the study, New York Magazine journalist Ann Friedman dubbed it “the Pullout Generation,” citing twenty- and thirty-something inner-urbanites who “bought organic kale and all-natural cleaning products, and so can’t quite get down with taking synthetic hormones every day.” Jezebel wondered if it might be a reflection of what writer Tracy Moore termed “pregnancy ambivalence” – that is to say, that perhaps couples using the “pull out” method weren’t so opposed to the idea of getting pregnant after all. They just weren’t ready to start actively “trying” for a baby. Daily Life

It makes perfect sense for me to close the news with this youtube video.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

32 Comments

  1. mari
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 06:48:32

    Nobody is actually banning the book. If any kid wants to get it, as far as I know Amazon still works and the library is available. What parents object to is the school teaching it and in their minds, promoting those things they find objectionable. What I find self riteous and hypocritical is when it is assumed these parents are remiss in monitoring their kids computer gaming and and “don’t talk to their kids”. Bullshit. Why would you assume they don’t exercise caution over other forms media? Perhaps it is because they are very aware of the state of the current culture through conversations with their kids, observing computer games, listening to music, and yeah, reading books (written for teenagers!) with sexually explicit content that they are doing what they can to protect them. I don’t make any assumptions about whether the book is any good or not, but when a school decides to teach such material, I would not blithely accept the supposed fact that teachers
    know what they are doing. I am not at all confident the educational system supports my values. I would read the book first.
    But I would not FOR A MINUTE hesitate to make my objections known, if I was worried. I am glad the school system is supporting (for once!) parents attempts to raise their kids is a culture that is oftem hostile to families and values.

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  2. Deborah Nam-Krane
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 06:57:23

    My fellow parents, lets make a deal: you stay informed about the content of books (magazines, games, movies, whatever else) and you decide what you feel comfortable letting your child access. But let the rest of our kids be exposed to what we feel is comfortable.

    I am going to make Eleanor and Park the next book I buy now.

    And wow re: condoms. I know Eighties trends are coming back, but I wasn’t counting on that one.

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  3. DS
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 07:31:48

    About Rainbow Rowell– I know it was 45 or so years ago, but when I was in high school if there was something controversial planned the kids who parents objected were given some alternative activity, like study hall, while the activity went on. And this was in a fairly conservative area. Whatever happened to reason?

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  4. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 08:05:29

    @mari: By “sexually explicit content,” do you mean sexual abuse? Kids should be protected against books dealing with sexual abuse? This reminds me of an Elizabeth Smart article linked to a few months ago. Her exposure to abstinence-only education played a role in her feelings of worthlessness after she was repeatedly raped. She didn’t have the will to live, let alone run away from her kidnappers. Maybe girls who read stories about abuse survivors have a better chance at recovery or escape. Keeping this content away from kids sends the message that it’s not okay to talk about and perpetuates a cycle of shame that prevents victims from reporting.

    Some parents will object to every single book in the library and classroom. Harry Potter is Satan’s witchcraft, etc etc. If schools cave to a few misguided/extreme parents, all kids miss out.

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  5. Jen
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 08:08:20

    OMG that video had that video was hilarious. My 3 year old kept trying to look over my shoulder to see why I was laughing so hard.

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  6. SandyW
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 08:08:40

    I read the story on Rainbow Rowell and saw phrases like ‘public library’ and ‘voluntary summer reading program,’ so it didn’t really sound like the problem was with this book being taught in school.
    Being aware of what your kids are reading is diligent parenting. Appointing yourself to be in charge of what other people’s kids get to read is censorship.

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  7. hapax
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 08:18:05

    What parents object to is the school teaching it and in their minds, promoting those things they find objectionable.

    I find it ironic that we’re having this conversation AGAIN right after the internet blew up (appropriately) at David Gilmour for teaching only books that he “loved” — i.e., were written by white middle-aged heterosexual men, just like him.

    Wasn’t the whole point of that outrage (well, except the part that Gilmour was an arrogant rude jerk) that learning and teaching about literature requires exposure to material that challenges our worldview and even “promot[es] those things [we] find objectionable”?

    My children read all sorts of books promoting values that I found “objectionable” in high school: Shakespeare alone glorifies warfare, endorses the divine right of kings, justifies treason, and finds humor in humiliating women. Their understanding of the world and participation in our civiliation would be much more shallow and curtailed if I were to deny them exposure to the Bard’s glorious language and a chance to grapple with his more problematic views.

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  8. cleo
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 08:21:54

    Here’s an interview with Rainbow Rowell about it – http://the-toast.net/2013/09/17/chat-rainbow-rowell-love-censorship/

    I wasn’t able to read the article Jane linked to. From the interview with RR it’s clear that her book wasn’t required reading for students – it was chosen by two librarians as part of their optional summer reading program. And she was invited to speak as part of that program.

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  9. cleo
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 08:34:47

    And here’s an article from the national coalition against censorship about this case and another – http://ncacblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/talks-cancelled-for-ya-authors-meg-medina-and-rainbow-rowell/

    I particularly like this from the article:

    At the heart of these cancellations lies the belief that we can clean up the world by erasing the parts some people dislike. The alternative is acknowledging those parts, dissecting their roots, asking how we can change them and facing them head on.

    That resonates with me. I understand parents wanting to protect their children from the ugly and scary things in the world but we risk making things much worse for them by not acknowledging things like bullying and abuse and talking about it with our kids.

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  10. Julia Gabriel
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 08:53:58

    When I was in jr high, my class had Flowers for Algernon taken away from us because two parents complained (who were apparently unaware that their daughters were reading Rosemary Rogers in study hall like the rest of us). You never saw a class of kids read an assigned book faster than we all read Flowers for Algernon as soon as we knew it was about to be taken away! Alas, the objectionable material was only a reference to menstruation and an implied sex scene. Quite disappointing to all of us. Also, the local bookstore could not keep the book in stock after that — banning a book is the best way to get lots of people to read it, apparently.

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  11. Jan
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 08:55:57

    It is ironic this is happening during banned book week! I don’t believe books should be banned, but I do feel parents should know what their children are reading and talk with them about the books they read. I also think a parent should have the option of deciding their kid shouldn’t read a certain book. However, as an adult I should be able to read any book I want and not read a book I don’t want to.

    My daughter (who is 20-something now) and I talked about this issue and each wrote a post last week for banned book week. Of course, I discovered she had read books I didn’t know she was reading! There were some which were very disturbing to her as a teenager and some she wished she hadn’t read, but she’s also vehemently against banning books.

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  12. Sarah
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 09:04:50

    The group that is behind the push to ban Eleanor & Park in the Anoka-Hennepin School District is the same group which was behind the controversial policy which didn’t allow teachers to discuss issues related to sexual orientation and which became the subject of a federal lawsuit after multiple student suicides. Here is their website: http://www.parentsactionleague.org/book-alerts/2013/8/7/review-of-rainbow-rowell-book-eleanor-park.html

    and here is the link to the “report” compiled by two disgruntled parents: http://www.parentsactionleague.org/storage/post-images/Parent%20Findings%20and%20Additional%20Proposed%20Guidelines%20-%20130724%20v1_1.pdf

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  13. Sunny
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 09:08:35

    If there had been books dealing with abuse, addiction, sexuality and such instead of just Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew and other completely whitewashed and sanitized books at my school library, I think I would be a very different person today. Not giving people, especially young adults, access to the realities of the world they are already living with, just increases their feelings of isolation, of something being wrong with them, and of helplessness.

    I was put on antidepressants at 12. Not because I had a chemical imbalance — because I was being abused at home, and had zero way to recognize it as anything abnormal or not my own fault.

    I’m not saying this is the fault of books, there were some pretty massive failures of people in authority (who were told and did nothing), but since I lived in books and in the library but my reading list was heavily curated by my family and school, I was gaslighted all through my teen years.

    Why? Because well-meaning people thought kids couldn’t deal with the FICTION of abuse. And not-well-meaning people didn’t want me able to leave the reality of it.

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  14. Anne
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 09:28:29

    I find the cancellation of Rowell’s visit for the reasons given just wrong.

    Whatever happened to just not letting your kids participate in something you find objectionable? Let other parents make their own choices but don’t take that choice away.

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  15. Mims
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 09:45:00

    Some more info about the Eleanor and Park book:

    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/09/25/daily-circuit-eleanor-and-park-anoka-hennepin

    http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2013/09/in-book-censorship-anoka-county-avoids-bullying-issue-again/

    I believe that the Parents Action League is behind this. It’s too bad that the actions of a few have soured the author from coming to Minnesota. This group does not represent Minnesota or Minnesotans.

    http://www.twincities.com/ci_20158168/southern-poverty-law-center-names-anoka-hennepin-parents

    Barry Lyga spoke at Anoka High School earlier this year as part of the ‘Teens Know Best” author series that was sponsored by MELSA (and numerous other groups). I guess they didn’t have time to skim his books.

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  16. It's Me
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 10:20:25

    Sometimes it feels like parents like to live with their heads in the sand when it comes to their teenagers. For me though, I’m more liberal in what I let my kids read and watch and more than likely wouldn’t have an issue with this book for 7th grade and up (I say more than likely only because I haven’t read it, but of course I need to now lol)

    I agree with this statement said earlier by a commenter:
    “My fellow parents, lets make a deal: you stay informed about the content of books (magazines, games, movies, whatever else) and you decide what you feel comfortable letting your child access. But let the rest of our kids be exposed to what we feel is comfortable.”

    ReplyReply

  17. Maite
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 11:38:02

    So, I start reading the report on “Eleanor & Park”, expecting to get a good laughs (which I did), but then this came up:
    This book touches on a variety of age inappropriate and highly controversial topics including underage sex, underage drinking and drug use, pornography, and the sexual abuse of children.
    “Age Inappropriate”? For a fifteen-year old?
    I feel sad. This parents don’t care for the story. All they care for is their daughter not to be exposed to certain words and feelings.
    I feel for that girl. I remember being fifteen. I remember feeling abnormal because I was the one female who didn’t feel attraction to anyone, and not having anyone to turn to regarding that. I hope that the children of these parents can find people they can talk with, who’ll listen, and thus avoid their parents prejudices scarring their psyches with guilt.
    And I feel for the parents, who are blinded to such a moving story because they cannot allow themselves to give a chance to a book that has words they do not like.

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  18. carmen webster buxton
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 13:12:42

    And the withdrawal method, while it doesn’t protect against STIs, only has an 18% fail rate.

    Only 18%? ONLY 18%? Yikes! To rework an old, joke, do you know what they call people who use the withdrawal method?

    Parents!

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  19. Darlynne
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 13:50:30

    I’ve already bought one of Ms. Rowell’s books and will now go and buy the others. This small-minded ignorance has to stop. And it’s not even a school library, for crying out loud.

    @Deborah Nam-Krane: What you said.

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  20. azteclady
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 14:03:45

    @mari:

    when a school decides to teach such material, I would not blithely accept the supposed fact that teachers
    know what they are doing.

    Pray tell, what does a library reading program have to do with what schools teach?

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  21. Yttar
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 14:06:43

    @Jill

    Yes, some kids should be protected from books about sexual abuse. Depending on the book and depending on the child, anything that mentions sexual abuse can be very triggering, especially if they start reading the book without knowing its about sexual abuse. But it depends entirely on the child and entirely on where that child is at that moment in their path to recovery.

    Should the parents necessarily ban the books outright? Should no teen be allowed to read these books? Should no sexual abuse victim be allowed to read these books? No, no, and no.

    But the situation needs to be handled with care. And if such a book were required for such a child to read, there should be an alternative if the child cannot or does not want to deal with the triggers at that moment. Each person is different, so while a book about abuse might be healing for one victim, that same book could be very triggering for another victim.

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  22. helen
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 15:06:53

    @Yttar:
    This is not a book that was required, it was read during a summer program that the students chose to be involved in.

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  23. farmwifetwo
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 15:42:49

    I have no issues if a book is developmentally appropriate for the reader. It is the parents job to make that choice. But then again I live in autism land so I realize not all are as socially mature as others.

    Out right bans don’t work… then again I was reading regencies in high school and have been giving my book-a-holic 17 yr old babysitter carefully chosen romances for the last 2 yrs. She turns 18 I’ll introduce her to the good stuff.

    Just b/c someone could read a book at a certain age doesn’t mean that should. That needs to be respected and is my right as a parent to make that choice.

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  24. Ducky
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 18:46:18

    I am confused. Why do these parents have the right to force the un-invite of an author to a speaking engagement at a non-school library with the participation of students in the program voluntary? Am I missing something?

    This is depressing.

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  25. Susan
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 19:22:30

    The idea of banning books is alien to me, and it certainly isn’t a hallmark of good parenting.

    When I was growing up, my parents were a) *very* conservative and b) not very big readers. But they supported my reading habit and basically let me read anything I wanted. The one time they jokingly said something to the effect that they hoped I wouldn’t ever read anything by a popular author known for her risque novels, well, you guessed it, I had read one before the week was out. They were pretty unfazed when I told them what I had gleaned from the forbidden fruit, which was probably precious little at that age. My parents weren’t disengaged; they gave me the gift of trust. I valued that. I wasn’t the perfect child, and they weren’t the perfect parents, but we did OK.

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  26. Diana
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 21:15:31

    Totally agree that bans don’t work. I remember when I was in middle school, our English class was reading “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. One of my classmate’s parents read it, then raised holy hell because there is a scene where a baby dies. We had to stop reading the book, and it was taken out of the school library. While we had all been very reluctantly reading it until that point, the minute it got banned, it was hot property. Everyone was reading the book because it was “forbidden” and “too adult” for us.

    It also seems dumb to have parents police their young adult’s reading habits. You think they haven’t seen ten times worse in an episode of Game of Thrones or Sons of Anarchy? Or a casual perusal of the internet? Please. The parenting strategy should not be to “ban” or “police”, but to open up thoughtful, teaching dialogue to help engage your child. It’s the only way to really reach them on the important issues.

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  27. Yttar
    Sep 28, 2013 @ 02:40:03

    @Helen Thank you for pointing that out. I wasn’t sure if that was the case, but even so you can want to read a book and not know it’s about sexual abuse and still be triggered by it while reading. That’s mostly what I was commenting on in my last paragraph.

    @Ducky I’m just as confused as to how the parents were able to uninvite this author, too. I understand that parents want to protect their children from everything they deem inappropriate, but at the same time this is very sad for the author and the readers who liked this book.

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  28. Janine
    Sep 28, 2013 @ 09:34:05

    @Jill Sorenson: I found a video of that Elizabeth Smart speech. It’s well worth watching, so thanks for mentioning it.

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  29. Jill Sorenson
    Sep 28, 2013 @ 14:55:24

    @Janine: Wow. I’d only seen a few quoted comments, not the entire speech. Very moving.

    @Yttar: No easy answer for this, but my impression is that most of the parents who object or opt out do so for reasons other than trigger issues. I would, of course, sympathize with a child who had been abused and didn’t want to confront the topic.

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  30. Rose
    Sep 28, 2013 @ 17:36:38

    @mari:
    Mari: really liked how you worded your response. I do monitor reading, video and all media material that comes into my home. My children are very well informed on all that is going on in society yet they do understand that their parents are the best indicator of what is age appropriate for them. We are monitoring what the schools, society and even what are children are doing, not censoring them.

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  31. Fiona McGier
    Sep 29, 2013 @ 17:26:58

    My parents never monitored what I read, but encouraged me to keep my nose in a book by doing so themselves. Consequently, I raised my own kids the same way. I’m a certified English teacher currently subbing in high schools, so I talk to students all of the time about what they read. They have much deeper thoughts than anyone gives them credit for.

    The freedom of the USA is thus: You have the right to do what you want on your own property, to eat/drink/worship (or not)/indulge in anything that pleases you, and raise your kids the way you want to. We can be totally alien to each other, yet still be friendly neighbors and watch each others’ houses when we go on vacation. But your freedom ends when you come in my yard and tell me I have to do like you do. Mine ends at the end of my property also. That is the essence of America…it’s what people all over the world come here to enjoy.

    I don’t care if others want to raise their own kids with blinders on, even going to the drastic extent of home-schooling, so, as one co-worker told my husband, his kids only need one textbook: the Bible…for literature, “science”, math, psychology, etc. But your freedom in raising your own kids ends when you interfere with what my kids are being exposed to. If you don’t like what they’re reading, either ask for your student to do an alternative assignment, or read the book with them and discuss what you find objectionable. That’s the best way to inculcate your own child with your morality. But quite frankly, if you haven’t done this before the kid is in high school, I hate to be the one to tell you, but you’re way too late now!

    I have a button the students love: “Exercise freedom. Read a banned book.”

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  32. Fiona McGier
    Sep 29, 2013 @ 17:33:16

    Oh, and I loved the video too! Not wearing a condom with your spouse is much different from not wearing a condom with a “steady” partner, or with random strangers. Any man who tells you on your first time together that he doesn’t want to use one, will probably be a selfish lover also, concerned only with his own pleasure. Protecting himself and his “most precious part” should be of paramount concern to any sensible man. Condoms are the only way to prevent pregnancy as well as not share diseases.

    I told my kids when they were much younger that “Any time winkie comes out to play, he needs to wear a raincoat.” I told them this at the dinner table, and the boys rolled on the floor laughing, while my husband spat out his food in laughter, telling me things like that weren’t discussed in his house when he was growing up. They were in mine.

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