Dark Lord with SPOILERS (was:Re: A new member/Can you recommend a DWJ book?)

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Wed Jul 12 07:14:59 EDT 2000


Philip:

>I have never considered Dark Lord an adult book!  Obviously an editor somewhere
>did, since it was published with th VG label, but I put it firmly in the early
>teenage bracket (YA at best).

When I wrote this, I was actually only referring to the shelving of the
books in book shops - so that Neil wouldn't waste time looking for DL or DS
in the children's section.  But the comment made me think about it.

>Which raises the question, what's the difference?
>
>DL is told mainly from the boy's POV.  Broken homes are covered, as in a lot of
>DWJ, but the sexual aspect takes a back seat (compare even Fire and Hemlock).
>And there is nothing really sordid (like Marceny's activities in Sudden Wild
>Magic) - even the gladiatorial contest is pretty tidy, and (trying to avoid a
>spoiler) the sexual assault scene almost glossed-over.

I'm not convinced.  But then I think the sexual aspect of F&H is not that
important, _unless_ you're reading it looking for this.  (Now there's a
statement liable to bring down tons of disagreement on my head!)  What I
mean is merely that I feel I could read F&H happily to Cara (my ten year
old) and not have her pick up on any of the possible sexual dodginess in
Tom and Polly's relationship.  Those reading the book as adults may debate
the appropriateness (as we have done several times on the list!), but only
reading the book as adults.  [Becca is reading this over my shoulder, and
just commented that she actually didn't know there was anything sexual in
F&H.  She authorised this report of her comment.]

In DL, the (attempted, IMO) rape is not at all graphic, but the idea of an
assault as a result of hatred is very clear, and I know that Cara would be
very upset by it, as indeed I was.  I read DL to Becca, and she loved it,
but I had to tell her that the Mara/Derk situation would turn out ok
beforehand (and that's something I very rarely do).  It was really starting
to bother her.

Obviously different children/teens respond to books differently, but this
is just my experience with these ones.  FWIW.

Hallie





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