Poll Question: Should Christian teens read books about characters of spritually questionable origin?
- Maybe. Mature kids can discern the truth without being spiritually compromised. Other kids aren’t ready. (4 votes)
- Yes. Reading about a vampire doesn’t do any harm. It’s just fantasy! (2 votes)
- No way. The origin of vampires isn’t “questionable.” It’s evil. Don’t even go there. (2 votes)
I’ll be honest– this is a tricky one for me. When I began this blog and posted my first poll, a friend left several comments on my facebook account about teen fiction and what it should and should not contain and she said two very key words: age-appropriate. (maybe that’s technically one word, hyphenated…)
I think there’s something to that. Absolutely. In the case of Neil Gaiman’s book, we’re talking about a story set in a graveyard with a small child as a character. (I’m so resisting the urge to revisit that too often quoted line from the movie that will haunt Haley Joel Osmet for the rest of his life.) I’m not sure this is what I’d call appropriate content for middle grade readers. It’s an intensely dark story. (A beautifully written one, but dark nonetheless.) I mean let’s talk reality here for one second– kid grows up in a graveyard, raised by ghosts… anyone see a complex coming for little Bod? Okay, I know, it’s just fiction…(I’m the girl who loved the movie Meet Joe Black, but came away at the end thinking, dude, that guy is going to have one serious complex.)
But I know for myself, as a young reader, stories inspired me and even to a degree became a part of me in a deeper way than my reading does today. I think young readers moreso than older ones tend to idolize the characters they read about. Does reading The Graveyard Book encourage a fascination with death and the dead?
Here’s another interesting thought from a blog I read this morning. She blogged concerning Bella and Edward’s relationship and its similarities to abusive/co-dependent relationships. Is this a relationship we want teens to emulate?
Honestly, I think the romance genre itself often does a poor job presenting a healthy view of a romantic relationship. I have seen it even in Christian fiction. But that’s another topic altogether!
One of the things I liked about the Twilight series is that purity was important to Edward and that he and Bella waited until their marriage to consumate their relationship. In a culture where sexual purity is so out of style, it was exciting to me to see a YA series promoting abstinence take the bestseller list by storm.