Moms in Babeland

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.

“For those of us who were not immaculately conceived, we need sex to have babies. And we need a lot of laughter to survive pregnancy and parenting in a healthy state of mind.”

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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2 Responses to “When The Book You Gave Someone’s Child Has Content They Might Not Approve of (aka Whoops)!”

  1. Katrina says:

    I have frequently been the one to share questionable content with teens and tweens – as a parent, as an adult, as a member of the human race I think that the belief that children are somehow shielded from reality is incredibly short sighted of us all.

    In the case of books and media, I have frequently sat and watched or read something first before sharing it with my children, just so that I could be ready to answer questions that it may bring up for them, but it was rare that I actually censored anything that they read or watched, though there were a few notable exceptions (an anime with a protracted and bloody rape scene and cartoons that contained unrealistic depictions of violence and death.)

  2. Lauren says:

    I have this same issue with my nieces and nephews. I’m the aunt that gives the Everybody Poops book followed by the Every Woman Bleeds, then Everyone Masturbates, and on and on. I’m all for talking with kids about their bodies and dismantling the shame as early as possible, but sometimes it’s too awkward for them to hear from adults. Books allow kids to take the concepts in on their own time and in their own private realm.

    While my sister and cousin (who is like a sister) both will be fine with whatever I give their daughters and sons, their husbands will most likely try to censor me. I’m ready for the battle, though.

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