When The Book You Gave Someone’s Child Has Content They Might Not Approve of (aka Whoops)!
This post is about books and stories that help us to understand life, but that might not be so easy to digest. I remember falling in love with reading when I encountered my favorite author, Tom Robbins, in my teens. I wonder what my parents would have thought if they had snatched Another Roadside Attraction out of my hands as I was devouring it at age 16.
I want to share with you this lovely story, telling of fertility and the cycle of life. Connecting a trip to Babeland and (a big Dildo!) in a Sherman Alexie story. Along with some other big dildo magic.
My story of stories is actually about another Sherman Alexie book: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I knew of Sherman Alexie from school in Arizona, reading Reservation Blues seems almost like a lifetime ago.
This is my experience, life as a mom and a babe and someone dating another single parent… and the holidays. I purchased this book in an actual bookstore over the holidays for my lover’s son who is about my daughter’s age. I didn’t read the book, but I read the reviews. I thought it couldn’t be more scathing than the video games he plays where he tauts guns and bombs and someone dies every second, so I got it for him. I had already decided I was going to get him a book.
“A book?” my lover said. “I think he would prefer a nerf gun”.
“Nope I will buy you a gun, (shaped object) but I will not get one for a kid.”
So I snatched up the Alexie book and thought it should be a good read! Well let me tell you this boy really likes this book. He read right through it and I still saw it around by his stuff. His dad said he loved it. Now remember I said I didn’t read the book? It turns out this young boy’s mom eventually did read it after her son seemed to love it so much, and found that it made reference to OMGoodness…masturbation and boners.
Oh no!! What had I done!? Had I exposed this 11 year old to his first dose of sexuality in the form of literature? I doubt it.
I am pretty sure this t’ween knows what a boner is. Not that I wasn’t slightly mortified to hear of his mother’s reaction. Which as far as I could tell was mostly chastising of the book and the boy’s father and likely me, although I was spared the actual words.
I do regret not reading this book before I gave it as a gift. Would I not have given it if I knew it talked about masturbation? Would you? Part of me wants to get a copy for my daughter and I to read. I see that the book was actually banned and then un-banned by people who originally didn’t read it.
I personally think it is important to keep the library open and full of books that might be controversial to some, because the truth is we are all born of “the sacred in the profane.” I think reading is so important to our expanding and growing minds. If a child finds a book they love or connect with that is a beautiful thing. And I don’t think sexuality and real language should be kept away from young people while they are unquestionably exposed to violence. What do you think? Tell me, I can take it.
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