A very interesting conversation in going on within the kid lit blogosphere concerning Ted Bell’s new YA book, Nick of Time, and the interview he had with CNN’s Glenn Beck. The controversy began with Beck’s assertion that there are no good books for teen boys- and that the current crop of literature is emasculating. What really has gotten feathers ruffled (including my own) is Beck’s recounting of a scene in which the protagonist (a young teen boy) rescues his little sister. Nothing terribly wrong with that, per se. But what Beck finds so endearing and important is that the girl character allows herself to be rescued by the guy and goes so far as to tell the bad guys to wait until her brother gets there.
As Fuse and Colleen from Guys Lit Wire explain, it’s not so much the particulars of the scene in question that is blatantly offensive, but the idea that “good” literature for teen boys must feature weak females in need of rescuing. That this is some type of rite of passage being denied the male youth of today by the overwhelming lack of strong, macho characters in young adult literature.
Fellow School Library Journal blogger, Diane Chen, weighs in on the issue in support of Mr. Bell. And Mr.Bell himself comments on Fuse’s post.
An interesting debate, to say the least. I’m glad to see literature for boys as a major talking point- perhaps getting some national attention. It would be nice, however, for tv journalists to, you know, do a little research before presenting broad, unfounded, and rather subjective generalizations as hard fact.