Saturday, February 05, 2011

a little faith restored

So it's been kind of a busy week and I've been really tired. Wouldn't it fit, then, that instead of going to bed at a decent hour on Friday night, I would stay up late, randomly having decided to trawl goodreads on my iphone until 2am? Yes.

(Psst--did you know their updated app lets you scan barcodes to add books automatically? So cool!!)

I like to review things that I've read and written about (though it's nowhere near complete; I have just over 200 books on goodreads, but I've been keeping a books-read list since AmeriCorps (2002) and am up to 645) and see what others have to say about books I really enjoyed or really hated (The Book Thief--STUPID BOOK).

Last night while browsing around I saw a mention of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I read it a couple summers ago while we were upstate on a brief vacation. I'd heard about it and seen a lot of buzz around it, and I had dutifully ordered a copy (through Scholastic book orders! love!) for my classroom, but I am kind of contrary when it comes to popular/buzz-y books. So it was kind of a, "oh fine, I guess I'll read it..." thing.

But oh man. The hype was well-deserved. And this book deserves even more--it's one of the best YA books I've *ever* read. I laughed, I cried, I pondered privilege. It was SO GOOD. Can't even tell you. GO READ IT. You don't have to be into YA, either--it's a good freaking book no matter the intended audience.

Anyway. So I was scrolling through the reviews on goodreads, and just about all the reviews said wonderful things too. Then I saw one with only three stars (as opposed to the 4/5 stars for all the other reviews) and read it. This woman was like, well, this book was okay, but there was an inappropriate joke! and mention of the narrator "pleasuring himself"! And I don't want my child reading about those things--some things just shouldn't be in books! That's why I like Stephanie Meyer, she's so tasteful about things like this. Oh, and there are some senseless deaths--there was no purpose for them!

My head spun a bit from the total idiot-ness, and I began scrolling through the (many, many) comments. I was really afraid of more conservativeness and people writing things like, 'yeah! it's so inappropriate! teenagers and children shouldn't be exposed to this in so-called literature! no good!' etc etc

But! I think except for one, all the other comments were like, '' One wrote, "if that's what you're taking away from this book, you've missed the point entirely." And many others talked about how teenagers are exposed to so many awful, violent things out in the world every single day. And that if you're espousing effing TWILIGHT as good literature, well, holy cow....NO. Not to mention that the 'senseless deaths' in the books really happened, because the book is based on Alexie's actual childhood. And the inappropriate joke actually does the opposite, and lets the reader see how wrong it is.

I have to give respect to the original poster--she remained very polite in her responses to the comments, and she stuck to her point that while she wouldn't let her teenager read it, she would never tell anyone else what to read or not read.

Many of the commenters were also polite, except for a couple that must have been students, due to the references about "we" and the ATROCIOUS spelling/grammar/writing. They were pretty nasty. "Your wrong!"

In one response, someone actually said that Stephanie Meyer was a better writer than Sherman Alexie! My eyes bugged at that one. Thankfully, a commenter later called out that ridiculousness. Jesus!

Overall though, I was relieved that so many people refuted the OP's lack of understanding what makes this such a powerful book.

I know this is kind of rambly, but it made me feel better that there aren't just a bunch of idiots out there. And also I wanted to tell you to please go read this book if you haven't already!

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