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Thursday, March 15, 2012

My son's lament

I made the mistake of asking my second oldest what he is reading in 9th grade English class.

"We're reading The Secret Life of Bees. Unlike all the other books we've read, I decided to give this one a chance."

"Good for you, Jesse." I had a feeling I knew where this one was going but I added, "I really enjoyed that book. What's your opinion of it?"

He ran from the room, returned with the book in hand, and started reading from the back cover, "This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come."

I waited for the tirade. It came.

"Last I checked, I'm not a female and will hopefully never be a mother. I'm a dude; I don't want to read this."

"Well, surely you have been reading a variety of genres, with both male and female protagonists?" Who was I kidding? I read and signed the class syllabus six months ago; I know what's on it.

"Do I really have to read about female puberty*? I don't think so. My teacher told us this book is more for the females in the class. She said we should get over it because we read plenty of books for the guys. But Mom, unless you count Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, which I did really enjoy, they've all been chick flicks so far! And the rest of the year is, too."

"Ummm, I'm glad you enjoyed Agatha Christie?"



*His exact words. Keep in mind this is the same child who got stuck with presenting an oral report on Follicle Stimulating Hormone in health class last week because he happened to be in the back of the room and the last to reach the sign up sheet. It might not have been so bad except that his friend erroneously informed him that follicle means hair so it must have something to do with hair growth. When Jesse found out the truth, it was the beginning of another tirade on another day. He and his friend now know more than they ever wanted to know about FSH.

12 comments:

  1. And that's why whole class novels is not the best practice. It makes me sad to read this and know the frustration of your son. This approach causes so many kids to turn off reading. Can you be a voice for these kids and talk to the teacher? I am sad.

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  3. I have a 9th grade boy too and feel your pain. He wouldn't be thrilled either. Thanks for sharing what so many of them are feeling. My younger son is reading Hunger Games and is tired of the violence... Good Luck with that - I feel your pain. Thanks for making me laugh though - that health thing is just too funny.

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  4. My son has had plenty of conversations regarding this same line. This is when I wish I could slip the teacher a copy of Readacide by Kelly Gallagher. Great use of craft in your slice.
    Booksavors

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    1. I am not familiar with Readacide and will be looking into it. Thanks.

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  5. Your son has it right - and what a shame. It makes me so angry when kids are stuck reading that one book and then the teacher takes FOREVER to get through it.

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  6. Sorry--wish your son was in my freshman English class--we just finished a novel unit and each kid got to pick his own book. My students loved it--everyone of them. It's why I hate whole class novels. You are never going to pick a book that everyone likes...

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    1. I know they liked it because they got to rate the unit and tell me good or bad. Out of 40 students, only one didn't want to do it again.

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  7. From one Dude to another Dude ...
    :)
    ... you have to be open to all sorts of stories in life, but it is too bad the teacher phrased it the way she did so that the boys would feel left out.
    Hopefully, he has some other books that he wants to read, too.
    Kevin
    PS -- I agree that Readicide is a good recommendation for his teacher.

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  8. I am the mom of two HS boys. I have dragged them, kicking and screaming, through many novels like this. UGH. That's all I have to say. Just UGH. I pray that someday my boys will come back to reading, but I sure don't see it happening in Hs.

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  9. Well besides the fact that I am giggling at your story, I do feel badly for your son. I would love to know what he would choose to have on his (male) reading list though.

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