Friday, September 9, 2011

Alanna: Song of the Lioness - One of the more horrifying things I've read lately...

So, as many of you know, we are avid readers and listeners to audio books. We routinely have dozens of books out of the library at a time and always have a story going in the car and sometimes a second on in the house. We read aloud (or try to) nearly every day. We love books. And it is with a heavy heart that I have to just say that no one in this house can read a certain author. Ever. But, that is where I'm coming down on Tamora Pierce and her Alanna series.

I was initially really pumped about this series. In a nutshell, it's about a young girl who really would rather be a boy - instead of heading to the convent like she should, she switches places with her twin brother (who would rather be a wizard than a knight) and goes to the castle to be trained as a knight. And, since I have one who often feels the same way - that she would rather be a knight than a lady any day - I thought surely this series who give some good messages about being who we are rather than always longing for something else. And since I didn't finish the book or series, and have absolutely no desire to at this point or any conceivable point in the future, maybe eventually Pierce gets around to those kinds of messages....but somehow I doubt it. Alanna is a whining liar....and a first-class manipulator - an unrepentant fool. Great role model.

But wait, there's more.

In any coming-of-age story involving girls, clearly you expect to tread some muddy waters. And the section of the story about Alanna's changing shape was a little too frank for my comfort, but since I've only got girls listening, I let it go without comment. But when the next big change comes for Alanna, she takes herself off to a healing woman since she really doesn't understand what is happening to her. The conversation between them goes well beyond 'frank' totally into the land of 'holy crap, are you kidding me?????'. The healing woman gives her the basics - and then finishes with this bit of advice: The only way to stop your cycle is lie with a man and get with child. And follows up with this question: Do you know what happens when you lie with a man? Ummm, excuse me? At this point, I turned this off in the car so that I could listen to the answer to this question without the kids. And the answer had to do with whether or not men and women enjoy 'laying together' and that laying with a man makes babies. Alanna is then given a magic charm to wear around her neck to keep her from getting pregnant when she does 'lay' with someone.

WHAT???? Really, I about had a STROKE.

What the heck kind of lesson is this for our girls?

And out of 606 reviews on Amazon, 523 gave this 5 stars. I read almost all of the 1 and 2 star reviews and rarely were moral issues raised - particularly appalling since as the series goes on, Alanna actually 'lies' with no less than three teenage boys! WHAT?????

Look, I know I'm stuffy and frumpy and old-fashioned. But why, why do we want to teach our daughters that they have to be like men to mean something? Why do we have to be so dang explicit about private issues? Why are we creating characters for our daughters to look up to who hate the parts and processes of their God-given bodies that make them who they are? And why do we indoctrinate them to believe that a 'magic charm' is all that stands between them and 'safely' satisfying their lust?

Dads and Moms, make your own choice, but as for me and my house....we ain't inviting Tamora Pierce in here again.