DWJ in Today's Guardian/ short story

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat Apr 26 07:28:53 EDT 2003


Charlie sort-of answered my wondering:

>> I am still trying to work out what it is in *Deep Secret* that people
>think
>> is unfit for children any more than any of her other work -- can someone
>> explain?
>
>My guess (and guess is all it is) is that the slightly sexy scenes in the
>fantasy conference might have something to do with it. And perhaps that the
>narrators are both adults (although I forget Maree's exact age). There's
>violence too, of course, but then - ahem....
>s
>p
>o
>i
>l
>e
>r
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>... there's a pretty violent scene in Merlin too.

And in *A Tale of Time City* there is a certain amount of mayhem here and
there, not to mention being afraid one's parents have been left in a time
which is going critical; and in *The Homeward Bounders* there's a war on in
at least some places, and in *Fire and Hemlock* the horrifying Thing chases
her round Bristol, and *The Time of the Ghost* has a vengeful goddess of
the nasty brand personally out to get the heroine, and *Dogsbody* has some
fairly horrible child-abuse, *Archer's Goon* has threats of violence and
someone beaten up, and  and

need I even mention the mountains moving to crush armies in Dalemark?  But
those are all "children's books".

As for the risque at the convention, I remember an interlude in a
convention at the Adelphi during which all sorts of people drew on a chap
who had rashly passed out in a drunken stupor and DWJ's vacinity; I think
she was personally (ir)responsible for the mermaid[1]... after someone went
and fetched the felt-tips, at her insistence...

:-))

Maybe it's the wounded centaur in a bedroom that worries people.  The
strange urge to protect children from stuff they've almost certainly
already noticed (like "grownups are strange about sex", and "people, even
innocent children, do get killed, often in nasty ways" -- kids watch the
news, after all), always seems to come in somewhere, but I remember having
had to be removed screaming from the cuddly kiddies' film *Bambi*, and I
know that it is impossible to say what may upset any given child, on
account of each child is a person, not just an interchangeable spare part.
I have three, and each of them had a different set of triggers for being
upset, at different ages.

One thing I do know is that all the under-twelves I know who've read *Deep
Secret* seemed to be quite ok about it.  A couple were bored because they
didn't quite understand what was going on, so they stopped reading; that
seems to be what children generally do about books they aren't yet ready to
deal with, isn't it?

Minnow

[1] I think she now denies this, but *I* was *sober* and I know what I saw.


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