Another Tough Assigment

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I’m currently reading a Young Adults novel so I can review it for Chalcedon. I’m about halfway through it, and it has begun to give me a kind of creepy feeling, sort of like the feeling you get when the Crawling Eye is stalking you. Because I’m not yet finished reading it, and Chalcedon has first dibs on the review, I will follow my custom of using pseudonyms for both the book and the author. For the time being, it shall be known as Deeply Neurotic People with Feminism Thrown In, by Hortense Portense.

I liked it at first: crisply written, cleverly arranged, with a first-person teenage girl protagonist whose narrative voice somehow reminded me of Karl Kolchak: if you can imagine Darren McGavin’s Night Stalker as a 17-year-old girl, which I hope doesn’t give you the heeby-jeebies.

I am sorry to say the story is turning toxic awfully fast. And it’s pitched to young readers, most of whom have not yet lived long enough to acquire sharp critical faculties and are thus in danger of having something not so nice slipped under their door. So my review will have to be a warning light to parents, a role that’s not quite my cup of tea. I would’ve truly hated it, to have my folks vet the books I was reading when I was 15: but in those days there wasn’t stuff like this for them to worry about. My mother liked to read some of my Edgar Rice Burroughs books when I was through with them; and I would read some of the historical novels she had.

There are books out there that aren’t good for us, and I’m afraid this is one of them.

11 comments on “Another Tough Assigment

  1. Is Hortense Portense related to Violet Crepuscular? Is a wading pool involved in the plot?

    Seriously, these days young people’s books are of a viscous toxicity that in better days would have been considered child abuse.

    1. Please! Ms. Crepuscular writes strictly for adults. And if there’s anything toxic in her work, I’m sure she doesn’t know how it got there.

    2. In the late sixties, the Dr. Doolittle movie of the time had a line that went:
      If they ask me, “can you speak in Pelican?” I’ll say “Like Hell I can; can’t you?”

      My parents felt that was pushing the boundaries for youth entertainment. THAT is how much the standards have changed.

    3. I can scarcely believe the foul stuff I’m finding in this book–and I ought to be hardened to it by now. But they never seem to reach the bottom.

  2. Sounds typical of all too much of what passes for entertainment these days. Someone with an agenda, posing as a do-gooder and creating content that is more propaganda than entertainment.

  3. I love this post. I also agree — I wouldn’t have wanted my parents to choose my reading material at 15. Then I realize that if they had, I might have had a purer mind a little longer. By His grace, God has used my “too early reading adult occult” for His purposes now that I am a saved adult. I DID, however, censor and educate my own daughter as she grew. Her high school forced her to read books that were much more adult than she had read up to that point, with graphic sex and profanity that she had been avoiding because of my leading. But guess what she did… She took a Sharpie marker and drew a line through every single F-word in the assigned-and-required High School reading novel. That’s my girl. *wink*

    1. I wonder… I only know that by 11th grade as a Born Again Christian in a pagan land, she “went through the motions” and made A’s in classes where you had to pretty much deny the Creator to get an A. Later at her liberal arts college, they gave them “Days Off” and “Cry A’s” when Trump got elected. The sadder and more distraught you were, the easier the instructor went on you the rest of the semester. PRAISE GOD she’d out of school now. It’s a wonder any of the kids make it out with their souls intact.

    2. I can hardly believe I never had to deal with stuff like that in high school and in college. Shows you how old I am.

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