Child_lit Listserv Discussion Archive
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Wed, 29 Mar 1995, jodi lynn mousel
The question of “young adult” books and romance is of particular interest to me at this time. I have just finished reading “Weetzie Bat” for my class on Children’s Literature. Apparently, its been awhile since I’ve read a “young adult” book. This book left me wondering if I’m just a prude, or if this book was really missing out on morals. I read the book to fulfill the multicultural topic of “sexual orientation,” and it was not the parts on sexual orientation that I found to be immoral or inappropriate. It seemed that the author (Francesca Block) was condoning all sorts of behaviors for young adults, from underage drinking to group sex, single motherhood, drug use, etc. It is not the subject matter that I found as offenstive as the way in which it was portrayed. There seemed to be no real consequences of any of these behaviors, and even a teenager having a baby (without knowing which guy was the father) did not seem to carry any bad consequences. I’m just wondering if these are approopriate “romance” books for young adults to be reading, and just what age group are these books aimed at???
Thu, 30 Mar 1995, Tracy Fein
I read all of the books in this “series” by Francesca Lia Block. At first, I thought they were a little far out, but after forcing myself to enjoy the book, as opposed to doing the Critical reading that I had been *trained* to do as an English major, I really enjoyed them all. I am from Miami, Florida, where I was also a full-time substitute teacher in a high school for a year. From my experiences, Block’s books deal with issues that ARE very realistic. Yes, of course, she adds an interesting twist using her excellent story-telling abilities, however, the issues that are dealt with are real and need to be treated as such. Maybe the fact I come from a big city and have dealt with high school kids with family backgrounds even more wacky than some of Block’s character’s backgrounds is why I like her so much. Her stories are refreshing and deal with issues head-on. There is no modesty nor shyness–she confronts issues that need to be confronted. Hers are the books that kids will rush to read, not even aware that they are getting a moral education in the meantime. Granted, there are some issues that we wish were not issues that kids have to deal with, but they really are realistic in our society today, and I feel the best way to deal with them is by confronting them. Block’s books deal with everything from a young person wanting a baby to homosexuality to spirituality to dreams and fantasies to relationships to divorce to lonliness to fears, etc. etc. etc. . . There are so many issues I can’t eve n name them all. I am anxiously awaiting the next story!
Thu, 30 Mar 1995, fairrosa
Here’s my reaction to the concern of morality in _Weetzie_. (This is for the list.) Even though I love the prose and find the book entirely entertaining, satisfying, and charming, (and not bothered at all by its “lack of moral standard”) I can understand people’s concern.
It in a way affirms the life style by making everything work out in the end.
However, in “real life,” I believe, there are many many “lost teenagers” who will eventually turn out to be fine or even do great in their adult life. I think _Weetzie_ is especially wonderful because it presents that possibility to kids who are now going through rough years.
I too read it from a Fantasy angle (with all the dream like colors and languages and the ginnie, etc.) but now find it more realistic than a lot of other so-called “realistic” novels. It is real in the sense of emotion and love and suffering.