[DWJ] Attitude

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Wed Dec 27 18:34:10 EST 2006

Does anyone else remember Sally Watson, author or the historical
middle-graders _Jade_, _Lark_, _Hornet's Nest_, _Witch of the
Glens_, etc. One of my favorite authors from my childhood, she
was out of print for years, until her books got reprinted by
Image Cascade

Anyway, Sally Watson's writing again.  Her new books aren't
getting picked up by any mainstream publishers -- I guess tastes
have changed.  But Image Cascade can't print them, either.  It
seems Image Cascade's main market is the homeschool market, and
most homeschoolers are not like Our Own Melissa and Jacob.  Sally
Watson's new Outrageous Oriel contains a (tiny, minor, would have
shot right over my head as a twelve-year-old) mention of
homosexuality in a major character, and so Image Cascade can't
take the book.  (To be fair, at the moment Image Cascade is
entirely a reprint publisher, so it might be more complicated
than that.)

Why is this so funny?  Because -- well, let's take _Jade_ as an
example.  Jade is an eigteenth century girl who is consistently
beaten for disobeying her father.  She tries to flee the family
slaves, frees trapped foxes, and throughout defies authority --
both outright, and, when it's unavoidable for the protection of
another, sneakily.  Eventually she is beaten almost to death for
theft (freeing a cargo of slaves) and her ship is captured by
pirates.  She becomes a pirate, and dedicates her life after a
number of adventures to freeing slaves and prisoners, hanging out
with her best friends -- two freed slaves and two cross dressers
(Anne Bonney and Mary Read), fighting for Indians against
American settlers, and generally disobeying and defying
conventional mores and authority in all ways.

In other words, _Jade_ -- one of the most formative books of my
childhood -- is not considered subversive by Image Cascade's
readership. An ellided mention of homosexuality, on the other
hand,  *is*.  If parents buy Watson's  books because they
think they are safe inculcaters of traditional mores for their
little girls -- well, *good*!  Subtle sneakinesses for us.

Before everything else I'm a human being.
					- Nora, _A Dolls' House_

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