[DWJ] Newly discovered books

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Fri Aug 3 17:00:39 EDT 2007

Susanna wrote:

>No, you're right, because for a book to be an "issue" book, the issue has
>to be the major driver of the action or expressed emotions in the story,
>and, I would guess, the author often decides on the issue first and the
>specific characters and situations meant to illustrate the issue later.
>The main purpose of the book is to instruct, rather than to entertain,
>which accounts for the faint or not-so-faint whiff of didacticism that can
>often be found clinging to "issue" books.

When DWJ was a child the ones dealing with an "issue" that she had
available were mostly books of a Victorian Christian persuasion, and she
and her sibs called them "Goddy books", I think.  And she agrees with
whoever once said that such writers lose the story in a pot of message.

>"Witch Week" and "Dogsbody" are obviously not about diversity and
>anti-Irishism (not that I think you were implying that they *are*,
>Charlie), any more than "The Time of the Ghost" is about child abuse.
>Those are themes or interpretations that are there for the reading,
>certainly, and DWJ incorporates them skillfully.  But I would be willing
>to bet...well, a lot of money...that she did not sit down one day and say
>to herself, "I am concerned about intolerance for diversity, homosexuality
>in particular.  Therefore, I am going to write a book in which witchcraft
>is a metaphor for homosexuality, in order to edify and inform my loyal
>readers of the problem."  Hardly.

You'd win your bet.  But I don't think anybody here would take the other
end of it!  :-)

When faced with the suggestion, she laughed heartily for some while,
recovered herself, and then enquired anxiously whether this had been
seriously suggested.  (I reassured her that it hadn't.)


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