Saturday, 14 March 2015

Canada Reads- part 4

 "Books that can change perspectives, challenge stereotypes and illuminate issues"

   Well, Canada Reads really did it this year!  I have been a fan since this event began in 2002.  I have been faithfully reading every book.  Many years, it was a stretch, to put it mildly.  This year, it is more than a stretch, it is a revolt.
  I struggled through "Cocksure" (2006) with its gross sexuality, but it was a satire and I thought there was some point to it.
 "Lullabies For Little Criminals"(2007) was a shopping list of miseries- abuse, poverty, drugs, prostitution.  Didn't see much point in that book. And it won!
  "Generation X"(2010) was a stretch- the lost generation.
  In 2009, the final two books were "Fruit" and "The Book of Negroes".  "Fruit" is a teen fiction book that has some gross, bawdy humour, but there was some point of body image and self-esteem.  I survived that book, but nearly lost interest in the whole contest when some of the panelists thought that it should win because it was unknown and "The Book of Negroes" had already received a lot of acclaim.  That was upsetting!
  There have been other books over the years that I have questioned, but I try to accommodate all interests.
  This book goes beyond my sensibilities.  I cannot stretch this far.
After 20 pages of gross, graphic sexually-explicit descriptions, I give up!  I may have an old brain, but what is the point of filling it with this garbage?
  But more than being disappointed in Canada Reads, I also cannot understand why it was chosen for the Governor General's Award for Children's literature in 2014.
  Although I represent the older generation, I think I stay connected to the modern day by reading books that my grandchildren are reading.  Also I keep up with modern favourites and have read "The Hunger Games" and all the "50 Shades of Grey" books.  Even when I personally see no value in a book, I try to understand why it would appeal to other people. But I find this book offensive and disturbing as a sample of the best Canadian literature.

Lainey Lui is supporting this book and here is her review:
"Stories about young characters aren't just relatable to young readers. Just because a book is classified as young adult doesn't mean that the talent of the writer or the narrative isn't impactful. The problem is that readers can be snobby and readers can discriminate. Readers have a responsibility to be better than that. This book is about how we often isolate what we don't understand, how victims are born, and how we can fight. And that is a story that we can't box in an age group."

Here is the Quill and Quire review:
While the storyline has promise, the novel has a number of problems, the biggest being gratuitous graphic language and imagery. Some of this is to be expected in the first-person narration of a hormone-riddled teen, but the near-constant, highly explicit vulgarity is unnecessary, adding nothing to plot or character development. In fact, there is very little development at all. The characters are static; no one learns anything or evolves. Though the story is set in junior high, the school environment and the issues (including an abortion and plenty of sex and drugs) feel more appropriate to a high-school setting. 
Reid’s debut novel may find an appreciative audience among older teens and adults, but is not the best choice for younger readers. Though the story addresses some important issues, its problems are too distracting for the book to be considered a success.

My opinion:
This book will offend and disturb!  Do not read!

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