This week on News With Views I published a column, “This Best Book is the Worst” ( http://www.newswithviews.com/Duigon/lee215.htm ), about a book called Boy Meets Boy that was chosen Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Assn. A brief descriptive blurb will suffice: “Paul’s simple high-school life is confused by his desire for another boy who seems unattainable, until Paul’s friends help him find the courage to pursue him.”
I thought that was pretty sickening. But a reader from New Zealand has alerted me to an even filthier book that also won a big award, the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year. This is a book about teenagers at a boarding school, boys having sex with their male teachers and with each other, taking a whole lot of drugs, cursing and getting cursed at… I mean, what’s not to like? It’s called Into the River–which is possibly the best place to toss it.
This is Young Adult fiction, these days: a boiling cauldron of filth. Earlier in my lifetime, anyone who tried to purvey to minors the kind of stuff that gets Best Book honors today, would have been arrested and thrown into jail.
And my question is, simply, this: Don’t the parents care? Are you guys all right with your 14-year-old sons reading this stuff? You seem to be all right with your children being “educated” by persons who think this garbage belongs on a students’ recommended reading list. Is this what you want being pumped into your children’s minds?
Oh, we care! We care plenty! But we continue to send our kids, five days a week, to schools where Boy Meets Boy and Into the River are on the reading lists, on the shelves of the school library with golden stickers on their covers, and deeply imbedded in the ideology of our children’s “educators.”
It just doesn’t look like caring.