I am always saddened when reading a book that I cannot wait to finish. All books are valuable...all stories worth telling; but Lucy in the Sky is just so unrealistic to the majority of youth out there, that I cannot (with a clear conscious) put it on my classroom shelf. I understand that culture varies from coast to coast, hood to hood, but why must authors continue to characterize today's youth in such a manner that sets the standard SO LOW?
I think of my own students over the years and I know that they are troubled, swimming against the stream, living in a self-involved world that doesn't openly tolerate discipline; but I also know without a doubt that every young person desperately WANTS to be good. We all yearn discipline and structure, whether we admit it or not.
After reading books like this or even the divinely successful works of Ellen Hopkins, I close my eyes and am grateful for the likes of Judy Blume and Sarah Dessen. These ladies tell stories. They meet the needs of young readers. They do not need to rely upon a hard core journey through drug use and prostitution to weave a convincing tale.
As a veteran educator and lover of books I am totally against censorship and totally believe in freedom of choice concerning reading material; but I also delight in stories founded on morality and good deeds. No, that is not fantasy-land. It's what readers WANT.
My novel Abby may not be highly recognized or killing the best seller lists, but at least it gives hope to those readers who are traveling through adolescence. It recognizes the existence of bullies and crippling disease. It gives claim to dysfunctional families and intolerance in society. But it is also founded on the belief that "God doesn't throw us more than we can catch."
So...my rant is over for this day. I am just happy to look at my reading pile and hope that my next choice is fun.
I'm glad that's over...