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The Mortal Instruments: Good, but perhaps not appropriate for all

June 6, 2011 1 comment

So I haven’t updated this blog in almost a year and now I have decided to update to review another YA series.  Since I don’t really waste much time with series I don’t like, it’s obvious I found this one enjoyable.  I decided to do this review because of this Wall Street Journal article that blew up twitter a couple days ago.  The author talks about YA novels that are dark and painful and may be inappropriate.  Sometimes I tend to agree.  There are many novels out there that seem to go too far pushing the boundaries of social decency.  The real question is, where do we draw the line?  And who gets to draw the line?  Something that seems inappropriate to me may be completely appropriate according to others.  What if someone decides that YA can’t or shouldn’t include anything to do with Christian faith?

That all being said, let’s take a look at The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Claire.  I’ll try to do this without massive spoilers.

This series follows a teenage girl as she discovers what and who she is.  This is basically what all teenagers are trying to do, but hopefully without demons trying to kill them in the physical world.  The books are artfully written and Claire is VERY good at both action scenes and character development.  I never found anything heavy-handed like I did in Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay.

The key to this book is, parents need to use their discretion.  If you don’t know what your kids are reading, you should.  I must admit I don’t always know, but when I read YA I am looking at it as something for my kids to potentially read.  Perhaps I’m looking at it wrong though.  I believe that yes I, as a parent, have the obligation to keep some things from my children until they are able to handle it.  In some cases my responsibility is to make sure they aren’t exposed to certain things at all while I am in control.  In the case of this series, I think it may open up some avenues to talk about certain issues if the child is mature enough for it.  I think that determination has to rest with the parent.

There is very intense romantic tension between some characters in this series.  There is some intense making out that is completely in character and it adds to the story instead of taking away from it.  The real problem I have with this series is that there are main characters who are homosexual.  No I am not a homophobe.  I do however know that homosexuality is antithetical to a holy life.  Therefore I can’t condone it in this book.

I may yet let my son read it.  He’s 15 and I think the discussion might be worth it.  I will NOT be letting my 11 year old daughter read it yet.  I also won’t let her watch PG-13 movies.

So, I guess I recommend this series with some serious reservations.  It is not for the children of lazy parents, but well worth it if you are willing to know what your kids are reading and willing to discuss it with them.

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