Has series creator Barbara Park developed amnesia for her own work?
I would defend to the death any child’s right to read about Junie B. Jones, the in-your-face kindergartner known for her bad grammar and worse behavior in a bestselling series of early chapter books. But Junie’s creator, Barbara Park, showed signs of having developed remarkable amnesia for her own work in today’s New York Times. (“Is Junie B. Jones Talking Trash?”, East Coast/Late Edition, page G1).
” The worst thing she does is maybe call someone stupid, but that’s just her being a 5-year-old,” Park told Anna Jane Grossman. “You’d hear worse than that walking across any playground!”
Has Park forgotten that in Junie B. Jones Is (Almost) a Bridesmaid, Junie tackles another child on the playground, doesn’t apologize and suffers no consequences for it? Here and elsewhere, Junie’s behavior would meet many schools’ definition of bullying.
For another perspective on the series, you may want to read two recent posts on One-Minute Book Reviews, “Junie B. Jones: Spawn of Satan or God’s Gift to Reluctant Readers?” www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2007/06/16/ and a postscript to that deals with the tackling incident, www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2007/06/19/.
(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
If we call Bridget Jones’s Diary “chick lit,” why don’t we call The Hunt for Red October “dick lit”?
Gloria Steinem has been getting a lot of attention for her recent column on Huffington Post www.huffingtonpost.com/gloria-steinem/ arguing that the term “chick lit” ghetto-izes women’s books that deal with serious issues. The many others who have made a similar point in the past few years include Jennifer Weiner, the author of Good in Bed, who observed that we don’t call men’s books “dick lit.” Here’s a quote from Steinem’s post on that theme, “A Modest Proposal”:
“Think about it: If Anna Karenina had been written by Leah Tolstoy, or The Scarlet Letter by Nancy Hawthorne, or Madame Bovary by Greta Flaubert, or A Doll’s House by Henrietta Ibsen, or The Glass Menagerie by (a female) Tennessee Williams, would they have been hailed as universal? … Indeed, as long men are taken seriously when they write about the female half of the world — and women aren’t taken seriously when writing about themselves much less about men or male affairs — the list of Great Authors will be more about power than about talent.”
Comment by Janice Harayda:
I agree with Steinem and Weiner. Why don’t we call novels by Tom Clancy or Louis L’Amour “dick lit”? The New York Times continually uses the term “chick lit,” both in the daily paper and in the Sunday book review section, though it’s hard to imagine that its editors would publish an analogous phrases about other groups.
© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.