Thursday, February 3, 2011

On Teenage Fiction

I like to keep current with teen trends. I like to read books. Ergo, I spend much time reading the books teens read. Also, they are a nice break from anything intellectually stimulating, much like Christian literature. here is my review on teenage fiction series (taken as a whole series):

  1. Chronicles of Narnia- the original pop fiction written by a Christian. Unlike most other children’s fiction, and most other Christian lit, this series is well-written. Great imagery, engaging story, approachable allegory. This series receives a big fat 6.5 meatballs, which on a meatball scale is enough to cover a footlong sandwich plus a half meatball (aka 11 on an amp).
  2. Harry Potter- the subtley Christian allegory wrapped in a demonic shell according to some. Writing: very good, not great. The story: excellent. The whole creep factor: minimal. This series has been rejected by most good Christians because it does refer to a few words people use in Wicca, but refers to them in meaningless ways. The whole “our children are all going to become witches” scare turned out to be nothing. The author, a searching Christian, at least cared enough about her story to have a point. 5.5 meatballs since someone took a bite out of your sub (rocking 9.5 on the amp scale).
  3. Twilight- bad writing, intriguing story if it weren’t for Edward and Bella. Teaches kids that you shouldn’t have sex . . . because you will die! Full of manipulative relationships, an excellent example to teens of how not to treat others. A big fat veggie sub (your amp remains unplugged)
  4. Percy Jackson- i’ve only read the first episode. It was good enough to read the second. Bad writing, but an exciting story. Probably more evil than Harry Potter if parents took the time to care since it’s all about, you know, false gods. Stereotypical teenage drama: kid doesn’t feel special. Kid learns he has a power. Kid feels special and saves the world by ignoring adults’ wisdom. Kid doesn’t learn lesson. Written like an action movie, at least the story goes somewhere. 3 meatballs (a quiet 2 on your amp while you warm up and practice).
  5. Eragon- I’m a total nerd so my score doesn’t really count. It’s clean, it’s exciting, it’s written by a kid. 5.5 meatballs because it has taken so long for book 4 to come out. Warning: he uses magic.
  6. Hunger games- I don’t know where to start on this one. Kind of creepy with teens killing each other. Amazing story. I can’t wait for the movies, but I know they will screw up the books. Great writing. The only downside is the whole teenage murder while adults watch aspect, which is downplayed. Subtle allegory for the astute reader. 6 meatballs because nothing is allowed to replace Chronicles. (10 on the amp scale, loud enough to play Squad Five-0’s “Rockin it, rockin it at the apocalypse. It’s rock and roll at the end of the world”)

Now, should teens read these books? That’s for parents to decide. Read it first, and then choose whether or not to let your teens read it. Don’t rely on other’s thoughts about the book until after you have read it. I will let Malachi read each of these series, depending on his age. I will also talk with him about what is in the books, the messages they teach, and how that should relate to his faith. Call me crazy, but sometimes engaging art is a worthwhile skill to learn, even if it’s not Christian. As a parent, it is YOUR responsibility to teach your kids to critically engage culture. Many will disagree with my decision, and I respect that. If you have questions about any series and who should or shouldn’t be allowed to read them, ask below.

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