When I was in secondary school, a group called MADD released a calypso called Saturday Night. MADD is known for it's comedic tunes. but this one was a lot heavier than usual. It was about a 15 year old boy and his 13 year old girlfriend. They go to a fete (party) and someone steps on his toe (or was it him stepping on someone's toe). They almost fight but a friend holds him back. The guy waits for him outside the club, and it turns into a bloodbath.
A section of the public got up in arms over the song. They ragged on the relationship between the boy and girl. And the "glorification of violence". And some of them said that it should never be on the radio because things like that don't happen.
I wondered where those people lived. Yes, Barbados is a tropical paradise, but we have crime too. And we definitely have teens engaging in sexual relationships. I was a teen at the time. I'd seen it with my own eyes.
Here in Japan, I do a huge detailed medical every year. It's mandatory for every government employee. They test things I don't even understand in English. But they don't test for AIDS. My neighbour last year says it's because Japan likes to pretend there isn't any here. Same deal with homosexuals. Ask the average Japanese citizen, there are no Japanese gays. I know way too many gay foreigners with Japanese boyfriends to believe that.
What do these 3 things have in common? For me, they are reminders: Just because you pretend something doesn't happen, doesn't make it any less true.
Every once in a while, someone- a parent, a school board, a committee- will try to ban a YA book on the grounds of some horrible circumstance in the book. I don't like the circumstances any more than they do, but the fact is that these things happen. And people need to know that. And the people they're happening to, need support.
Today, I'll be giving away two books.
Jay Asher's Th1rteen R3asons Why- I feel like this book affected me more than any other book. Ever. It deals with the aftermath of a suicide, and highlighted one thing above all else in my mind: you never know how bad someone else is hurting.
But i Love Him by Amanda Grace (Mandy Hubbard)- What I loved about this book was the reverse chronology, aimed at stopping the reader from judging the protagonist who is abused by her boyfriend.
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