I Wish Naomi Wolf Would Stop.
Wolf was on Oprah Monday, once again warning parents about dangerous books. "These books basically tell our daughters that their value comes from how high they are in the pecking order in their high school, whether they can afford all of the fabulous designer goods, and provide a hot sexual experience for the boys in their lives."
Who died and left her YA spokesmodel?
Shouldn't Wolf be required to sit down with girls who read these books and, oh I don't know, maybe ask them why they read them before making these claims? Or at least read what teen readers themselves have to say about these books on Amazon? There are 259 reviews over there ranging from one to five stars, with titles ranging from variations on "one of the best books I ever read!" and "awesome book if you like short beach reads," to "same old," "ridiculous," "guilty pleasure," "waste of paper!" "No Morals, No Plot, No Brains in the Character."
And shouldn't Wolf be required to read around just a little bit more in the genre before presenting herself as the go-to gal on contemporary YA lit? Again, reading through the Amazon reviews, it's clear that girls are reading a lot more than just these series. Many of the negative reviews offer alternatives--Cathy Hopkins' Dates, Mates series, The Traveling Pants books, Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicolson books.
But here's why I'm so bothered. Wolf's warning to parents--first in the New York Times Book Review, now on Oprah--is going to inspire book challenges at schools and libraries across the country. And it won't just be the Gossip Girls that people will want off the shelves or segregated or tagged with an astrobrite warning label. It'll be books like this year's Printz winner, Looking for Alaska, Golden Kite and ALAN Award winner A Room on Lorelei Street, Printz Honor books The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, and Fat Kid Rules the World, Brent Hartinger's Geography Club (which has weathered several challenges already) or David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy.