The weekend was mostly filled with revisions (two-thirds complete, I think, go me!), but we snuck in a church chicken and biscuit dinner at the fire hall and some dancing on Saturday night. All work and no play makes Laurie a cranky author. (See CATALYST for a great description of a church chicken and biscuit dinner. It is practically a sacrament for Methodists.) We wound up with a little more than 18 inches of snow. I am dying to put on my snow shoes, but those revisions are nagging, so here I sit.
Someone tipped me off to a fascinating discussion of PROM written by librarian Rachael Vilmar, whose blog, Your Fairy Bookmother, is a stitch. (Be sure to read her other reviews!)
She liked the book, but had concerns about the reading audience. In her blog, she discusses her fears that some book-loving teens might be judgmental about a character like Ashley Hannigan. She’s afraid they might not be able to find enough empathy to connect with a character whose life experience is so different from their own.
Then she brings up a larger, darker point… in a culture that prizes educational and economic success above all else, are we raising a generation that rejects people less fortunate or accomplished than themselves? Rachael puts it very well: “Are we promoting achievement at the expense of compassion?”
(The issue of achievement vs. compassion is a major theme in CATALYST, btw.)
I have heard this concern from a couple other librarians who have gave PROM to (privileged) teens and had the teen come back with a snotty attitude saying that she doesn’t like reading about “people like that” (aka working class). Many, many more kids loved the book, but the librarians were stunned at those few with the crappy attitude.
What do you think about this?