Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos

On the one hand... it’s a funny, entertaining read (depending on your sense of humor)….
On the other hand… I just wasn’t crazy about it.

On the one hand… it gains appropriate sympathy for the struggles of an ADHD boy who benefits from medication.
On the other hand… many school-age children are over-medicated. (though novelists aren’t required to explore both sides of this issue and maybe shouldn’t)...I'm partial to exploring natural methods of treatment...

On the one hand...the mother admirably returns to Joey’s life and takes responsibility for deserting him for years. She cares patiently for him, unlike his abusive grandmother.
On the other hand... I get a little weary with yet another story of parental desertion. (Dad appears to have left permanently.)

On the one hand, Joey’s teachers hold him accountable for his behavior that stems from his own issues and that he needs to take accountability for.
On the other hand, that message can be a bit overshadowed by Joey’s funny antics.

One the one hand…Joey is a good-hearted child, and it is satisfying to root for him and the responsible adults in his life and see that his hyperactivity can be controlled.
On the other hand… his good-heartedness was undermined once by a P.C. message that Joey never thought critically about.

That one I’ll explain. Joey wants to make the world a better place and gets a goofy idea to replicate 200 copies of a bumper sticker of his mom’s: Hate is not a family value.

One the one hand, it’s a great opportunity to teach irony.
On the other hand, I don’t think Joey or the author meant to teach it.

So… I’ll spell it out and cut to the chase. What it means (Joey),is that segments of the pop culture have infallibly declared that moral relativism is the correct truth. If you’re a person who uses the climax of your faith and reason to conclude a conflicting truth (regarding the pelvic “issues”/sins of our times), you are… now, follow this…. An honest opponent? A tolerated but mistaken citizen? Someone worthy of debating? Or someone assumed to be motivated by hate?
… if you chose the last, you’d be correct… and that’s…

Kind of hateful, isn’t it?

Not that I think most tweens will pick up the intent or logical disconnect in the bumper sticker espisode, but there is your caution....



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