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To be horrified by this Jacqueline Wilson book and the message it sends to teens?

(170 Posts)
AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Fri 21-Jun-13 14:25:36

At the moment in on a bit of a nostalgia kick book wise and have been reading all my old Jacqueline Wilson books. I've just finished rereading Love Lessons. Its about a lonely teenager (14) who falls "in love" with her male teacher who reciprocates the feelings and acts upon them.

Basically she confesses that she "loves him" and when they are alone in his car after babysitting, she kisses him and he kisses her back. He tells her that he has been fantasising about her at night and wishing they could be together. At the end of the book, the girl is asked to leave the school so the teacher can stay. On the walk home, the teacher catches her to say he loves her but he's staying with his wife.

When I read this as a teenager, I thought it was romantic and a really sad love story but now as an adult, all I can think is what on earth was JW thinking?! Teenage girls always get crushes on teachers but its like this book is saying to try and act on it because some teachers might love you back.

And then when the girl is asked to leave the school, the things the head teacher says to her are appalling. Quotes:

"You should have thought of that before you started acting in this ridiculous and precocious manner. If I were another kind of head teacher I would have Mr Raxberry instantly suspended. There could even be a court case. He would not only lose his job, he could find himself in very serious trouble. Did you ever stop to think about that?" --> is complete victim blaming and ignoring (and failing to report) abuse.

The girl says "none of this was his fault." and the head teacher says "I'm inclined to believe you." Again blaming the girl for what happened.

Its like JW is saying that a 14 year old girl could be responsible for an adult male risking his job and taking advantage of a pupil. Like she should have been the one to say no. And she's also saying that people in authority (the people someone abused should confide in) might think that way too. What will girls reading that book think?

At no point does JW use the story to explain that this is abuse, the girl is a victim and that the teacher is responsible for the situation and not the girl.

AIBU to be horrified by this book and disappointed in Jacqueline Wilson?

DogCalledRudis Mon 19-May-14 18:24:21

I don't know this book, but i think YABU. It is just a book. And illicit romance stories are old as world.

Rabbitcar Mon 19-May-14 18:18:04

Not directly on point, but DD2 read some JW books and then got really bored of them. She said they all had the same characters, bullied child, weak mother and mean father. I only read one or two with her, and I had to agree. She found the first couple interesting and then found it samey. Poor writing as well, we read Goodnight Mister Tom straight after, and we both realised how much better it was. Apologies to any JW fans, and it may be that the books we read were not representative of all her books.

But no banning here. Some children/parents will like her books, others won't. I guess DD2 got put off JW before we got on to the teenage books, so we didn't come across this issue.

No idea why JW is so popular though.

Have just realised this is an old thread, but will post anyway!

Jayne35 Mon 19-May-14 17:40:30

Never read them myself but my daughter did when she was around 14. Just always thought they were Tracey Beaker like...the tv series was awful! Now that she is 18 and reading all those awful true stories (A child called it etc) I think I preferred the JW. The content does sound quite bad for a young teen but on the other hand I was borrowing Dean Koontz and Richard Laymon from the Library at 14, some of those would have 18 rated if films.

ComposHat Belgium Mon 19-May-14 17:31:34

Sorry flick he's a horrible, horrible man.

fridgepants Mon 19-May-14 17:19:26

And yes, agree this is a bad message to give teen girls. Crushes on teachers happen, they should be written about in YA, but to suggest girls are responsible for leading the adult on?

fridgepants Mon 19-May-14 17:18:35

Blimey. I read Tracey Beaker and loved it, but I wasn't young enough to have read her other books as a kid. The impression I get is they are similar to Judy Blume in that each book tackles an issue of some kind? I read some of her older books though - Waiting For The Sky To Fall was very important to me growing up as I had a lot in common with the main character and it wasn't something I could talk to my friends about.

I remember reading a novel about a blended family (as they would be called now) where the boy was madly in love with his stepsister.

Flicktheswitch Mon 19-May-14 17:01:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MistressDeeCee Mon 19-May-14 17:01:29

I stopped buying JW books for my DCs when they were younger as I found the subject matter of some of her books dubious, to say the least. Not appropriate for my DCs in terms of their age anyway, but Im not a great believer into rushing kids into knowledge of ins & outs of adult issues anyway.

Flicktheswitch Mon 19-May-14 16:59:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CrayolaCocaColaRocknRolla England Mon 19-May-14 16:56:49

Sorry greyhound it's been a while since I've read her books! thats just what I remember of them, but I wouldn't doubt you in that!

Andrewofgg Mon 19-May-14 16:54:13

When was this first published? The imprint will show. I would be interested to know when a publisher felt able to put such crap on the market.

Is it still in print? It wouldn't find a publisher now but of course you can't stop old copies circulating.

Greyhound Mon 19-May-14 16:51:42

It's not reinforcing anything. Little girls love romance, and the big thing with JW's "Girls in Love" is letting them get into the character's shoes and imagine themselves in romantic relationships, its like a fairy tale for them.
I thought it was a bit shit.*

I just thought there was a lot in it about deceiving parents, keeping secrets etc. Maybe I picked it up wrong.

I have a bit of a gripe with this kind of thing - when I was a young teen, I used to buy Jackie magazine (didn't we all?) and it was full of photo stories (remember them?!) and articles about dating boys etc. My parents were extremely strict and I wasn't allowed boyfriends, so Jackie and other teen magazines made me feel as though I was rather odd which I probably am

ComposHat Belgium Mon 19-May-14 16:47:49

Rickman was just incredibly ill mannered and belittling to the person on a theatre desk.

ComposHat Belgium Mon 19-May-14 16:47:19

Rickman was just incredibly ill mannered and belittling to the person on a theatre desk.

Mrsdoasyouwouldbedoneby Mon 19-May-14 16:44:26

I was going to say, "oh how dreadful-think of the children". Then it hit me. I am a parent... Eeek!

Forever by Judy Blume was doing the rounds when I was a young teen... It was in our school library.... Very briefly. Think it might have been one of the more popular books. I had a knack for finding books that suited my hormonal tastes perfectly (I would probably blush to read them now...), things by Noel Barber.... I was encouraged to read 'period' adult novels... So discovered the Meridian trilogy ( I think I was about 16 then tho This was not in my school library mind...). At the same time I had a penchant for Thomas (let's depress ourselves) Hardy. I mean. Jude The Obscure. Seriously, now as an adult I SOB when reading it, can't stomach it.

Oh and I loved gruesome ghost stories... DD"s head teacher read a Michael Morporgo story "Giant's Necklace?" I twigged the girl was dead etc and all I could think was, "how awful, the poor parents etc", while dd was relishing the horror of it all.

I think many of the things I read and enjoyed would shock me as an adult. ;-).

Therefore, JW is just doing the same job teen writers have been doing for years... Satisfying a niche.

(Btw Charlotte Bronte had a crush/emotional affair with a teacher... It has always happened).

CrayolaCocaColaRocknRolla England Mon 19-May-14 16:43:33

It's not reinforcing anything. Little girls love romance, and the big thing with JW's "Girls in Love" is letting them get into the character's shoes and imagine themselves in romantic relationships, its like a fairy tale for them.
I thought it was a bit shit.

calculatorsatdawn Spain Mon 19-May-14 16:40:55

ComposHat What's Alan Rickman done?

Greyhound Mon 19-May-14 16:34:22

I've heard of this book and it was a massive error of judgement on JW's part - shocking, really.

I like some of her stuff - she writes about issues that are a reality for some children, such as parents with mental illness and so on.

I dislike a lot of her books - especially the "Girls In Love" series. Just reinforced the idea that teenage life isn't complete with a boyfriend.

CrayolaCocaColaRocknRolla England Mon 19-May-14 16:27:59

I did like this book admittedly.
I don't understand why people think "books, films and games send messages out to kids" my mum always told me "unless its factual, books and tv isn't real take no notice of it" and I never have. I don't think it sends out a bad message or a message at all because I've just been brought up to see fiction as just that. It's not a representation of real life. If the teacher was a boy her own age no one would really care, it's normal to have them impulses. The guy should have been sent to prison but didn't because it's a book. Take it with a pinch of salt, I hate JW anyway. Very childish way of writing.

ComposHat Belgium Mon 19-May-14 16:06:54

Ive met her twice, once on a train and once in a branch of timpsons. She was horrendously rude to the staff in the shop and on the train she was loud and keen to draw attention to herself. Along with Rory McGrath and Alsn Rickman she tops my celebrity shit list.

megemb Mon 19-May-14 15:38:16

I know this is an old thread but I just had to comment. When I was a teen at secondary school (from when I was about fifteen) I was one of those who always, always got crushes on the teachers. Some of them were just very minor, 'thought they were cute but it never got in the way' kind of crushes and some were pretty huge, 'I can't even speak to you please love me where do you live' kind of crushes.

I was very shy and never would have acted on any of the crushes (there must have been at least four) but I found them hard to deal with as not only did I develop crushes, as I respected all my teachers very much my emotional feelings for these guys also got quite intense.

I found that reading 'Love Lessons' actually really helped. It was as though JW understood and she didn't give it all the 'DON'T ACT ON IT HE WILL GO TO PRISON HIS LIFE WILL BE DESTROYED' stuff you normally get when seeking advice for this stuff. Nearly every teen with a crush on a teacher knows that already and those kinds of reactions just make them feel confused and ashamed. What Jacqueline did was explore a relationship like this from the point of a teenage girl and then, continuing in that character, showed sympathetically why those kinds of relationships always end in tears.

This would be much more effective in deterring this kind of behaviour as what she cleverly does is presents herself as being on Prue's side (Prue being the girl who falls for her teacher in the book) throughout, presenting to anyone reading it the idea that yes, if you liked a teacher and your teacher then acted on that it would just feel great. I mean let's face it, when I was at that age if one of my teachers had showed he liked me back I would have been ecstatic, not scared. She is on-side with that and understands that in that situation, a girl doesn't want to report her teacher. She wants to be loved. She wants what he can't give her; a healthy relationship with no emphasis on age or whether it's appropriate. She acknowledges this, then shows through Prue's eyes why it is impossible.

To me, this book is not encouraging students to pursue relationships with teachers; it is identifying with a common teen issue and showing why it has to always remain just a crush and never a relationship. By allowing them to go on this journey with Prue, they can almost live our their fantasy through her and then end the book feeling like they understand everything that happened.

I think JW is actually doing everyone a service. Reading this book helped me so much; instead of loitering by my teachers' classrooms in lunch hours or stalking them on Facebook at home, I would just read the book instead. It dealt with all my 'crush on teacher' urges and feelings and helped me go through them, experience them and, really, obsess over them in a much healthier way.

Just a thought anyway.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 03-Apr-14 14:38:48

gordy

My dc have always had choice in what they read.
My dd chooses all her books herself, it would be hard to stop her I think.
Steering into suitable books isn't difficult, you should try it. They believe they have chosen it themselves then grin

Objection Thu 03-Apr-14 13:40:49

JW books really messed with my head as a child.
I think it was "dustbin kid" where the main character accidentally pushed another child down the stairs and she became crippled or something.

JW are nasty nasty nasty. I loved them as a child for some reason but so many of the themes haunted me.

Bear in mind that I read Flowers in the Attic and the series at 12 and also read Clan of the Cave Bear etc at a similar age

squoosh Thu 03-Apr-14 13:10:28

If kids want to read Jacqueline Wilson let them read them. Nothing I hated more as a child than someone telling me which books were 'good' for me and which were 'bad'. I read Flowers in the Attic and lived to tell the tale.

gordyslovesheep Germany Thu 03-Apr-14 13:07:06

burning books hmm seriously

at least some parents allow their children choice in what they read

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