Tuesday, May 8, 2012

“Pure filth, constant coarse sex talk, bestiality jokes, heroine attempts to seduce a married man, etc.”

This review of Ladies in Waiting just tickles me. Take a look. I'll meet you right back here in a minute.

Will that sell books or what! Not so thrilled about the average-killing effect of a one-star rating, but hey, such is life. Can you imagine any better endorsement for curious teens than that headline? I wrote the dang thing and I want to re-read it.

Setting aside for the nonce that some of us don't think sex is filthy... (A friend of mine says if it's not filthy you're not doing it right, but she might have been talking about cooking, or gardening, or even child-rearing, I forget.)

Here's the thing – in Ladies in Waiting, no one has sex! Three young women who are relatively innocent, fairly smart, and have a pretty good idea what they want out of life (though they sometimes despair of achieving it) are thrust into a competitive, highly sexualized world where they make choices about whether to cling to their ideals.

The English court in 1662 sounds an awful lot like high school, right?

They are tempted, constantly, by sex and status, but stick to their guns. There is plenty of bawdry in Ladies in Waiting, but the heroines need something to resist, after all. Filth, pure or otherwise (and I do prefer mine pure) was a la mode in the Restoration, as evidenced by the poetry of Johns Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, by the plays of Wycherley and Etheredge, and by the example of King Charles II himself.

So apparently Ladies in Waiting is “...an excuse to have lots of sexual talk and to get to roll around in the muck.”

Hmm... well, I don't need much of an excuse, do you? I think people should talk about sex. I think people should talk about everything. Talk about sex all you want, teen readers, just think hard before you do. (I'm a mother now, I have to say that.) Think, argue, joke, explore. Talking about things is safe. Reading about things is safe. Ladies in Waiting might titillate, but it won't corrupt. No book corrupts a thinking mind.

Life is mucky at the best of times. Ladies in Waiting has plenty of muck. Sex, sure, but death and greed and ambition and disease and obsession and maternal devotion and betrayal and true love. All very mucky.

Of course you're dying to know about the bestiality jokes, right? I couldn't remember a single one, then I did a few searches for various farm animals and came up with this blasphemous bit:

“You know what these peasant louts mean when they say a dance, don’t you? They dance in the haystacks, they dance behind the hedgerows, they dance with their sheep if there’s no skivvy about.”

Laws, I clutch my pearls!

XO my lovelies,



Jaye Robin Brown said...

Those sheep always get people talking.

Jillian Dodd said...

A friend of mine just posted this article on a writers group I'm part of. It was good timing as just tonight I trolled around on Amazon to see how my book was doing, only to find a one star review with the title: GLORIFYING UNDERAGE DRINKING AND CASUAL SEX?? I thought what you did. Wow. That ought to make EVERY teen want to read it now. The funny thing is, the main character doesn't have sex until she's a freshman in college! And to think I was worried she wouldn't feel authentic enough because of it!! Anyway, loved reading your thoughts on your review and helping me deal with mine :)