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?

StuntGirl Fri 21-Jun-13 14:26:45

Can't stand her anyway.

seesensepeople Fri 21-Jun-13 14:29:11

YANBU - This book is the reason that all JW crap is banned from my home.

If I remember correctly (7 years since I looked at it) the first words of the book are "I hate my dad"... yet another reason to ban it in my opinion.

VinegarDrinker Fri 21-Jun-13 14:29:31

That does sound pretty bad (and I am normally a big JW fan).

QueenoftheHolly Fri 21-Jun-13 14:30:00

Bloody hell! What on earth was this woman thinking?!
I'm shock

seesensepeople Fri 21-Jun-13 14:30:14

Oh yes - and Jeremy Forrest has just been jailed for a similar story!

LalyRawr Fri 21-Jun-13 14:31:07


I used to read JW when I was a kid. No way would I be happy with my daughter reading that. That's crazy.

Blimey. YANBU

CockyFox Fri 21-Jun-13 14:32:20

I've not read it but it does sound bad. I have never understood the attraction of JW books they all seen to only deal with depressing topics and who wants that asa child.
Anecdotally my brother was traumatised by reading the suitcase kid in infant school, he became sure my dad was planning on leaving us.

CbeebiesIsMyLife Fri 21-Jun-13 14:34:03

Wow, I remember watching that on tv when I was a teen. It didn't even occur to me she was innocent and he was an abuser. sad thank you for bringing it up.

<makes mental note to ban jw books>

josephinebruce Fri 21-Jun-13 14:35:25

Can't remember that, or any other JW book, so I guess they didn't influence me that much lol.

It is not unreasonable, however, to expect adults to act like adults when faced with silly teenage girls.

Housemum Fri 21-Jun-13 14:47:50

Is it still in print? Shocked if it is - it's certainly not one I've come across, but I do vet all JW books before letting DD2 read them as I don't approve of all of them (and would cheerfully slap Tracy bloody Beaker who gets away with anything).

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Fri 21-Jun-13 14:49:22



That's disgusting. If it's not in print I'm glad but how the heck as Wilson still got a career?

5madthings Fri 21-Jun-13 14:54:40

Yanbu at all!

pipsqueakz Fri 21-Jun-13 14:56:25

Oh my days! Dd has almost all jw newer books think I'm gonna be making sure there appropriate! Very dissapointed! No more jw books for dd!

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Fri 21-Jun-13 14:58:02

Is it still in print if you can buy it? Amazon is selling it still but only six copies left apparently. I've seen it in the library too (when I was hunting down other JW books) in the teenage section so still available that way too.

Eyesunderarock Fri 21-Jun-13 14:58:15
pipsqueakz Fri 21-Jun-13 14:58:23

You anbu! Am [shocked]

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 21-Jun-13 15:02:10

It does sound bad. I'd probably let my child read it but use it as an opportunity to talk about it and explain that it is never the child's fault and make sure they get that in their heads. I really don't see the point in never exposing children to what are real life situations.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Fri 21-Jun-13 15:09:45

shock I remember that book... I used to love her stuff but looking back almost all had bad messages. I remember clearly wondering why in her books the girls were either overweight or underweight and how much time was devoted to them thinking about it, even the younger characters.

raisah Fri 21-Jun-13 15:10:20

My sister was addicted to jw books & other similar authors when she was a teenager, they filled her head with utter nonsense. My parents were happy that she was reading, they didnt realise that some of the content was inappropriate. Parents need to read some of the material their kids read before passing it on. It is madness as at that age teenagers like to think they are grown up and know whats best without realising they are putting themselves in vulnerable situations.

Hazelbrowneyes Fri 21-Jun-13 15:12:56

I loved JWs books as a child & I have fond memories of her books (the mum-minder, double act etc) but I've just read the synopsis of this book...bloody hell. I'm actually speechless. sad

OctopusPete8 Fri 21-Jun-13 15:20:45

I've found JW to be thought provoking,
I read the Illustrated Mum as a child, about a supposedly 'cool' mum,
but was also irresponsible , had MH problems and ended up being sectioned.

Is think meant to be a thinker?

OctopusPete8 Fri 21-Jun-13 15:22:17

Like displaying how young exploited girls are/were treat in these instances?.

How old are the people on this thread? I feel old! Op yanbu, book sounds dreadful

Remotecontrolduck Fri 21-Jun-13 15:27:03

My main problem with it was that nothing happened to the teacher! It all ended on a rather romantic note, that may make young girls think that this sort of relationship is ok and can work out, or is romantic.

The girl protagonist is very odd too, very childish. It's an odd book, JW has done some thought provoking and interesting stuff, but this was a massive mistake.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Fri 21-Jun-13 15:27:28

SPB - old enough to have read these books to other people's children rather than read them myself!

MadBusLady Fri 21-Jun-13 15:45:21

shock shock shock

I assumed you meant you read it as a teenager in the 70s or something, but I just googled it and it seems to have been published in 2005??

The same year incidentally that she became Children's Laureate.

I'm gobsmacked.

needaholidaynow Fri 21-Jun-13 15:49:34

There is a similar one

Sorry I can't make it a clicky!

I read this book as a 13 year old 10 years ago. I had a huge crush on one of my teachers at the time as well. It had me gripped from what I can remember. My teacher wasn't about to have sex with me seeing as I fancied the pants off him though! I used to drive my friends bonkers with my silly crush.

FoundAChopinLizt Fri 21-Jun-13 15:49:42

My Dd8 is reading the Hetty Feather series, about the Foundling hospital in London. I haven't actually read them myself, but they seem to be ok, maybe because they're set back in time.

I agree that story line sounds awful.

LastTangoInDevonshire Fri 21-Jun-13 15:53:16

So, OP, you read it as a teen and thought it romantic etc. Therefore, the conclusion is that it didn't do you any harm.

All you've done is grow up and grow out of JW. Stop knocking what didn't harm you.

miffybun73 Fri 21-Jun-13 15:55:07

YANBU, sounds horrific.

I think that I must be too old to have read any of these.

Never heard of Jacqueline Wilson. I'm 39.

SillyTilly123 Fri 21-Jun-13 15:55:41

My dd (9) has just started reading the JW books but ive not read any at all and now im wondering whether i should continue to let her. The one she is reading at the minute is called Kiss or something. Is that one ok? Jeez what happened to Julian, Dick, Anne, Georgina and Timmy? I can't remember anything like that in those books. (though in true juvenile style i used to always laugh at the name "Dick")

MadBusLady Fri 21-Jun-13 16:00:44

So, OP, you read it as a teen and thought it romantic etc. Therefore, the conclusion is that it didn't do you any harm.

That is genuinely some of the worst logic I have ever heard on the internet.

Yes, I once went out without a seatbelt on and didn't die. Therefore seatbelts do not save lives.
Ditto I once put baby DS to sleep on his front therefore SIDS advice is wrong.
My Grandad smoked like a chimney and lived to be 90 so smoking doesn't cause cancer.

NeverFinishWhatYouStarted Fri 21-Jun-13 16:19:14

JW is not writing how-to guides or preachy morality tales. She's writing realistic stories about things that are familiar/relatable/interesting to young teens. She's not meant to be a good or bad influence, just a storyteller. And although I haven't read it, it sounds more plausible than your usual, trite, good-always-triumphs stuff that we feed to kids.

Also, it sounds like the lesson (not that any author has a responsibility to teach a lesson) is better for the realism: "don't get involved with an adult because you'll lose out, not them" is an insight that many of her readers will relate to. Victim blaming and failure to report abuse is more likely than a happy-ever-after ending.

I envy your innocence if, at 14, you read this as a romantic story.

CbeebiesIsMyLife Fri 21-Jun-13 16:19:51

Ditto I've said I read it as a teen and it didn't even occur to me she was a victim.

What I didn't say is I've been abused and have blamed myself my whole life. I figured it was my fault, I should have done something.
I'm finally realising I was wrong. I'm getting psychotherapy to help. This book wouldn't have helped. Maybe if the book I read spelled out it is NEVER the child's fault and always the adults, even if that child is 14, 2 or 17. The adult is always to blame, I may not be where I am today. I may not have kept it secret for years, I may have gotten help, reported him and let him face the consequences of his actions rather than thinking it was all my fault.

This book is not right, it gives out the wrong message and IMO should not be in print in libraries or able to buy on amazon. It makes me very sad. Like I said earlier jw books will be banned from my house, my girls are only 1 and 2 but I will also never let them reads book I haven't read as an adult.

I am very great full to the op for pointing this out to me as I didn't realise, I'd forgotten about this book and it will make me a more careful, better parent.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 21-Jun-13 16:21:54

JW books are known for being controversial. I wouldn't have a problem with my dc reading it when they are old enough, but I'd want to know about it and read them myself so we could discuss it properly.

Teacher/student relationships are not that uncommon unfortunately, so I do think it's a reasonable topic for a teen book.

adeucalione Fri 21-Jun-13 17:18:50

Love Letters does sound irresponsible but teacher/pupil relationships are not an uncommon theme in teen books.

If you look at Love Letters on Amazon it will give you a load of similar recommendations, which may deal with the topic more realistically I suppose, although the various blurbs don't sound particularly encouraging in that regard.

I can only assume that this subject matter, handled romantically rather than responsibly, appeals - and sells - to teens.

i have read that and read it not in the same way, more as a quite sad but often true tale. I think there isn't any morals but it tells a more plausible story line and is aimed at older children and is meant to make people realise how unfair some situations can be. I didn't read it as approving f that in any way.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Fri 21-Jun-13 17:58:40

I think that my main issue with the book is the fact that the girl gets all the blame. JW knows her books will be read by thousands of children some of whom will be abused and some of those will be abused in similar situations to the girl in this book. And JW chose to reinforce the idea that if you tell, you won't be helped, you will be blamed instead which is the message many abusers give to their victims to keep them quiet about their abuse. I respect the idea that she's just a storyteller and not meant to influence either way but as a children's storyteller, she must be aware of what a massive influence she could potentially have on the children who read her books? So to have that kind of power and use it to tell a story where the abuser gets away does horrify me. It might be true that yes abusers do get away with it in real life too but she could have taken this chance to use teen-teacher relationships to make a difference as well as money.

livinginwonderland Fri 21-Jun-13 19:19:05

I remember reading that in around 2001 and thinking it was a bit creepy.

SplitHeadGirl Fri 21-Jun-13 19:30:28

I feel old. When I was a kid I read Sweet Valley High!! I have no idea who this Wilson person is.

piratecat Fri 21-Jun-13 19:33:46

dd has loads of her books, i shall not be allowing that one. can't believe it!

8dayweek Fri 21-Jun-13 19:35:01

I vaguely remember reading this, and other JW books - I seem to recall there being a few pages in the back of most of the books which discussed the serious issues brought up in the story, kind of like a conversation prompt for parents to use afterwards?

lljkk Fri 21-Jun-13 19:36:12

... Don't Stand So, Don't Stand So, Don't Stand so Close to Me.

Ezza1 Fri 21-Jun-13 19:40:38

Foundachopinlizt I'm pretty sure Hetty Feather deals with death so be prepared for any questions arising. My DD really enjoyed it but did find it sad.

I really dislike JW but shes not a lot different from Judy Blume which I used to read as a pre teen.

NeverFinishWhatYouStarted Fri 21-Jun-13 19:45:03

But it's like saying that Shakespeare was irresponsible by writing about two teenagers who kill themselves because they can't be together, or Harper Lee by writing about an innocent man who ends up dead because of a racist jury, or John Steinbeck when one of his characters shoots his friend dead and appears to get away with it. All of those stories are routinely read and enjoyed by young teenagers.

One of the marvellous things about fiction is that it allows both author and reader to explore possibilities without having to actually experience events themselves. I think most kids reading a story like that would be angry about the treament of the protagonist. I understand that recent events would have any parent worried about their child crushing on a predatory adult, but that's no reason to be hysterical about a book.

Macdog Fri 21-Jun-13 19:49:59


whois Fri 21-Jun-13 20:00:27

Everything NeverFinishWhatYouStarted said.

You sound like a bunch of idiots calling for a book boring because the story doesn't fit with your idea of right and wrong. It's a STORY! And you're meant to think, to talk about themes and events.

FYI my primary school banned Enid Blyton because her books are sexist. I have very little sympathy with that kind of attitude.

whois Fri 21-Jun-13 20:01:04

Calling for a book burning

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Fri 21-Jun-13 20:04:03

neverfinish, I get what you are saying but I think in those stories, the circumstances are obvious to the reader. I mean, in Romeo and Juliet, its obivous to the reader that they duffed up by killing themselves because of a misunderstanding. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout's dad talks to Scout about how wrong it is that an innocent man is punished for the colour of his skin. And I haven't read the other book whoops but its obvious that its wrong to kill someone else. The issue with Love Lessons is that its never pointed out or even obvious to the reader that it is a story about an abuser and a victim. As a teen, I thought it was a love story and thought it was romantic because I knew nothing about abuse and the book didnt mention it at all even in a subtle way. The only reference to it being wrong is the way it could affect the teachers life. Nothing about the victim. It makes me a bit uncomfortable looking back to think that I thought a man abusing a child was romantic. Imagine how many other teens reading it could have thought the same.

I think that's the difference between JW being irresponsible and the other authors not being though. The fact that the crazy suicide, the racism and the murder can all be easily picked up from the book by teenagers but the fact that a teen-teacher relationship being abuse is not easily picked up unless the reader already knows its abusive.

WafflyVersatile Fri 21-Jun-13 20:07:59

I've never read JW or seen TB but I was all prepared to say YABU and that it's fine for teenagers to read about some of the shittier things that happen (and remembering that some kids are living what she writes about) and then I read the bit about the teacher and I thought wellllll, teenagers have these fantasies so maybe it's ok for them to know they are not the first.

But bloody hell what a terrible message that is to give teenage girls. Unless there is a bit after that where it's quite clearly shown that the teacher is sacked etc


MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Fri 21-Jun-13 20:10:20

We could quibble about lots of things (starting with whether Shakespeare 'stories' are 'read' and enjoyed by teenagers), but surely that comparison ridiculous?

Romeo and Juliet (FWIW) is about two people who die tragically, who're both of an age, for the time when the play was written, when it wasn't that unreasonable to get married. I sort of think most people have figured out that the morality might be a little complex to interpret in today's terms.

Jacqueline Wilson, amongst other things, aint no Shakespeare.

UseHerName Fri 21-Jun-13 20:13:58

that's grim

i suppose if someone's dd has already read it, it could be used for discussion??

Mumsyblouse Fri 21-Jun-13 20:14:41

Jacqueline Wilson ain't no Shakespeare but she's sold 30 million books! I wouldn't ban any books of hers, she writes about lots of 'inadvisable' situations such as best friends arguing, bullying, death, leaving, divorce, absent fathers, teen romance, there are also lots of fiction books out there on teens and drugs, for example. I don't think they should all follow a simple plot in which the drugs are 'bad' or the teen fantasy is 'bad'- they are not morality tales but fictional depictions of what might happen, and this is pretty realistic.

But, despite all that, I just don't ban books or censor books, or films or anything aimed at children or teens in my house, makes them too tempting.

UseHerName Fri 21-Jun-13 20:14:53

i.e. talk to them about victim blaming, abuse of power, exploitation etc

MadBusLady Fri 21-Jun-13 20:21:16

You sound like a bunch of idiots calling for a book boring because the story doesn't fit with your idea of right and wrong.

Who called for a book burning? confused

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Fri 21-Jun-13 20:25:18

Oh, I don't want to burn it (or bore it), I just thought 'only on Mumsnet' to the Shakespeare comparison.

MadBusLady Fri 21-Jun-13 20:45:30

I'm not in favour of banning Enid Blyton either, by the way, but I think everyone understands that Blytons come with various health warnings about casual sexism, the odd bit of racism etc. It's fine for (sufficiently mature) children to read them as long as they are discussed and those elements are pointed out. They'll probably (hopefully) stick out as being odd to the child anyway.

What really shocked me about this was this is a recent book, by a Children's Laureate no less, who is generally praised for writing books that introduce children and teens to "difficult issues". So you might assume as a parent that these books are guaranteed safe reads for personal development. And yet this book appears to need a massive health warning.

Or where does it end? Would you be happy for a book aimed at children and teens that tackled the difficult issue of sexual abuse with the family to end up with a victim-blaming message? Just because that was "realistic" and sadly sometimes does happen?

WafflyVersatile Fri 21-Jun-13 21:00:08

It's the victim-blaming message that gets me.

My impression of her books is that they do sometimes deal with difficult and ugly issues, but issues that some teens do encounter. I think it's great that a child could read a book and think, this teen is like me, she lives with an alcoholic mum who forgets to give her lunch money too. It's not just me. But this seems to reinforce ideas of girls and women being at fault. Any girl in a similar situation is not going to be given strength from this.

NeverFinishWhatYouStarted Fri 21-Jun-13 21:00:50

OK, lets leave better authors out of it, so that the issue isn't muddied hmm Do you turn off the tv when the newscaster reports that a rapist got a suspended sentence because he's sick, sorry, or she was drunk and wearing a skirt or whatever. Every time there's an injustice or misunderstanding in tween Disney soaps. What about the abuse suffered by every single Disney princess? You going to censor
all those too?
Authors have no moral responsibilities. Judging by recent sales of Fifty Shades, they don't even have literary or editorial responsibilities. Let kids read what interests them and talk to them about the books. You might be surprised by their levels of insight.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Fri 21-Jun-13 21:05:12

Authors do have moral responsibilities, IMO.

I don't get why there can't be a middle ground between censoring or burning books, and thinking it's a bit shit to write victim-blaming.

I think Disney is a bit shit too. So shoot me.

Branleuse Fri 21-Jun-13 21:07:37

i would have loved that theme as a teenager. im a bit old for jaqueline wilson.
I did read judy blume forever a fair few times.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Fri 21-Jun-13 21:21:01

Comparing the book to other things that contain negative messages doesn't change the fact that this book contains an awful message about it being the child's fault that an adult has taken advantage of them. I also think an author who writes books aimed at children and teenagers does have a moral responsibility to be careful when writing about sensitive subjects like abuse and in this case, JW hasn't been careful at all. If she knows teenagers are going to read a book about this topic, she knows that they may take ideas on board from the book which seem to be, in this case, don't report an adult who takes advantage of you because you will be punished and he will carry on as before free to do it again.

I usually stand up for JW but that is shocking! The reaction of the head teacher I mean, rather than the storyline.

She covers topics that would usually be avoided with young teens which is why I like her so much but I think I'm going to have to read that one (it was published shortly after I grew out of JW by the looks of things) and work out ho I feel about it for myself because it doesn't sound amazing from that passage in the OPost!

RedHelenB Fri 21-Jun-13 21:52:17

I minded more about the death in My Sister Jodie than my dds did! And I LOVED Enid Blyton as a child but when I re read as an adult the sexism & racism & classism jumped out at me from the off! Not a fan of JW but I don't think this is a bit of an over reaction when it seems to end in maybe a more realistic way (ie teacher staying with wife ) Can't see schools studying her in the way they do Harper Lee. And what on earth do you make of Darling Buds of May!?

FoundAChopinLizt Fri 21-Jun-13 22:34:43


She says that Hetty's parents died, but she's got more answers than me as to what happens after death....grin

I was reading Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, Susan Howarth (Penmarric), and Le Carré very young.They were very off message but I have managed to escape adopting their values thankfully.

ncforembarrassingproblem Fri 21-Jun-13 22:52:07

IIRC a huge part of the ending is actually the girls acknowledgment that her teacher is wrong. The head teacher is not in any way portrayed in a positive way.. At no point does Prue accept that her actions were her own fault. Again, a discussion point with DCs.

Re Tracy Beaker - also some other books - as adults we ought to recognise Tracy is the way she is due to her background, possibly prompting a chat with DCs about behaviour, causes of bad behavior etc.

I loved Jacqueline Wilson as a child, still do. I loved The Illustrated Mum because it resonated with me. I had been through similar circumstances - an ill single parent - and I found an understanding voice in that book. I'm an adult and when I struggle to cope with my
life situation I still read that book. I imagine a great deal of others will recognise their own life situations in her stories.

JW also managed to get my severely ASD sister reading, she reads some of her stories for younger readers eg Lizzie Zipmouth, Twin Trouble and loves them.

For me a perfect book is one in which you are forced to question the narrator, not take everything as it is. An intelligent fourteen year old or so should be able to question the main character, decide what they think, are they a reliable narrator, could their view be tainted and why? Is the narrator telling the full truth? Is it a likely scenario? I can think of a huge huge number of books where this is invited or required, some your DCs will encounter as they get older - Lolita, Tess, Cuckoo's Nest, Sylvia Plath, 1984 etc were all offered as texts when I was seventeen. Starting to be critical of a book ought to start early, its a good skill for later exams.

Finally - book censoring never works, I know this as when I was a teen my friends and I sloped off to the library and read everything we shouldn't, eg Dyan Sheldon etc.

MooncupGoddess Fri 21-Jun-13 22:59:25

I haven't read it but am somewhat dubious about the concept of 'guaranteed safe reads for personal development'. I don't think novels either do or should work like that, except perhaps for very young children.

WafflyVersatile Fri 21-Jun-13 22:59:32

ah, that's what I was wondering, ncfor.

MadBusLady Fri 21-Jun-13 23:00:09

Never, your "comparison" to news stories, and leaving out authors because it "muddies the issue" hmm is an insult to our intelligence. I will not insult yours by suggesting that you do not know that really; I think you do.

And spare us the appeal to Literature. Children's authors, particularly those who position themselves as "difficult issues" writers, absolutely do have to balance their responsibilities to children's minds against their calling to Art.

I'm sure I would be very impressed by the level of insight shown by many healthy, loved, well-balanced children into a story about an adult grooming a child. I'm equally sure I would be shocked and horrified by the vulnerability and lack of insight into such a story shown by the kind of children who unfortunately are most likely to be targeted by abusers.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Fri 21-Jun-13 23:02:04

I don't really think a huge part of the ending is that she acknowledges that her teacher was wrong. The book ends with her wishing she could see him, kiss him and be with him forever and every so often going for a walk past his house. The closest she gets to acknowledging him being wrong is wondering if he lied to the head teacher and blamed her for it all. But that's before the part about how she still loves him and thinks about him all the time and walks past his house.

I'm sure the book would be great as a starting point for discussions but if the book isn't read by the parent first, they won't be aware that they really need to discuss the content of the book. I do think JW gets it right many times and The Illustrated Mum is close to my heart too but I am disappointed with her for writing this book without any acknowledgement that it is abuse so that a child reading it alone will understand this after reading it.

joanofarchitrave Fri 21-Jun-13 23:08:15

I feel on the fence about this, but in the end would come down on the side of never censoring... because my mother never, ever censored my reading and that was a good thing. What she did do was keep an eye on what I was reading and would sometimes put things my way if she felt I needed a contrast to things I was reading all the time. If you have a child who is reading nothing but jw, then try and ensure they are getting a broader reading diet. And also nothing wrong with saying to them 'Is that the book that says it's all the girl's fault and that 14-year-olds need to stop men from having relationships with them? That's crazy and it's not what the law says either. What did you think?'

MadBusLady Fri 21-Jun-13 23:09:33

Mooncup it's her bag, not mine. Rightly or wrongly, she is viewed as someone who delivers to that teen personal development market. You seem to be taking "personal development" as a synonym for "simple moral messages", and it isn't at all. Adults engage in personal/emotional development all the time, it's probably one of the main ways in which we all use fiction.

ncforembarrassingproblem Fri 21-Jun-13 23:17:45

She does say though that she wishes she could tell the patronising woman how hungrily Rax kissed her back.. Im sad enough to have the book in front ofme haha .. I suppose the way to see it is that. Prue, fourteen and infatuated is inevitably going to say it's not his fault. Sadly stupid teacher agrees. So what might help is to talk to DCs and say - what do you think, was it Prue's fault or was it the fault of Rax, other adults in Prue's life? etc.. I suppose as well it's always best to read unfamiliar stuff before giving to younger or impressionable teens. There are themes in most of JWs books that parents should probably be aware of and prepared to discuss I think - maybe a warning on each cover like films e.g. this book contains descriptions of xyz...

MadBusLady Fri 21-Jun-13 23:19:08

Ah, I apologise Never I've just notice I misread your post, and you were talking about "leaving better authors out of it" with regard to the Shakespeare argument. So strike out that phrase in my reply.

Your news "comparison" is still bobbins though. wink

MooncupGoddess Fri 21-Jun-13 23:28:24

It was the phrase 'guaranteed safe read' that stuck in my gullet, MadBusLady. I can't really imagine what a 'guaranteed safe read' for teenagers is, or why they would want to read it.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Fri 21-Jun-13 23:31:25

The only time I ever thought reading needed to be censored is when someone I know's 9 year old son was doing his book report on 50 Cent's autobiography. hmm

DeepFriedRyvita Fri 21-Jun-13 23:44:46


AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Sat 22-Jun-13 00:02:06

I'm sad too then nc haha! <pats book> Even though that bit does suggest that she knows he will get in trouble, it still doesn't make it clear to the reader that she has been abused by the teacher and it doesn't seem that Prue realises it either. A child reading the book alone may not realise either.

I suppose the problem with the book is its presented as a book about a teacher-pupil relationship theme but it doesn't state or suggest anywhere that its actually a teacher taking advantage of Prue and its the teacher's fault so children who don't have someone to discuss the book with, will go away from this with the message that a headteacher will believe a teacher over a child and will blame the child for the abuse rather than the abuser and the child will be punished. It feeds the victim blaming culture and could deter abused children from telling someone of their own real life abuse if they are scared of being punished or blamed. As for warnings, I think this book would need a warning that it contains victim blaming and punishment of the victim rather than the abuser as well as a warning that it is about a teacher taking advantage of a child. That would be a good idea I think for the children who will read it alone because its clear to them that the headteacher has failed Prue.

When I was a teenager, my mum didnt check every book I read before I read them because I got through so many every week. We didnt have time to discuss the books I read either. I'm sure there's many children who will read this book alone like I did and be confused by the message inside. If it had a warning though or an afterword explaining the headteacher was wrong and what should happen in real life, it would be great.

SinisterSal Sat 22-Jun-13 00:06:47

It would be great though if there were guaranteed safe reads for teens, or tv, or websites. How do parents manage to vet everything, and then discuss it, as suggested above? It must be a relief to see your children reading/watching/listening to/browsing something you already know is ok. How often does that happen?

SinisterSal Sat 22-Jun-13 00:08:11

x posts Amy with your last point

Morebiscuitsplease Wed 17-Jul-13 06:58:39

JW does raise uncomfortable issues, I think a book is a great place to do that. my DD loves her books. She is starting to realise how life can be for some kids. We have talked about it. Books are there to open the mind, to ban things we don't like is not the answer. Talk about the books, use it as a discussion point and explain that this is not allowed and possible consequences.
personally I think the content of Eastenders is far far worse, but that is only TV..... Would we ban that?

CinnamonAddict Wed 17-Jul-13 07:14:36

I banned her books from our house a decade ago as I think there are a million better written books out there. I can't even remember which one annoyed me so much but I think they are all rubbish.

Maybe my dc have read a few at school but at least they do not offend me in our bookshelves.
That particular one sounds vile, but I'm not really surprised.

Eastpoint Wed 17-Jul-13 07:31:12

Morebiscuitsplease no Eastenders at our house, but it's an adult programme not aimed at 10-12 year olds isn't it?

yes Eastenders is banned in our house mainly because its depressing crap.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 17-Jul-13 07:42:20

Thanks for posting this OP, you've cemented my worries about JW. DD is 8 and has wanted to read Lola Rose for ages. I'd looked at the blurb and thought it sounded awful. I won't be allowing it.

YANBU. Fortunately my 12YO DD has outgrown JW. She is currently enjoying the Shopaholic series hmm. She managed to find them in her woefully understocked school library.
I have never liked JW, that bloody Beaker child had DD asking if she could be taken into care.

samandi Wed 17-Jul-13 08:17:09

Never heard of her. It sounds awful.

KoalaFace Wed 17-Jul-13 08:28:28

I read quite a lot of JW as a kid. I could read anything I wanted really, my mum never censored anything, which I've always appreciated. I have always thought my love of books stems from my freedom to pick up a pile of books at the library that I was excited about not just from the Young Adult section.

But my mum did make sure I wasn't watching anything i appropriate on TV or very sexual, violent movies. Hmmm now I'm wondering why the difference?

ElizabethHornswoggle Wed 17-Jul-13 08:34:52

FGS. It's. A. Book. Are we to start censoring works of fiction now? Where does that end then?
Half of you gasping and rolling around in shock at the theme have also said "I used to love this book, I didn't realise!"
Yes, because you were a child reading it. Not an adult looking at it through an adults eyes and perspective.
Should all kids just stick to Where's Spot? and Biff and Kipper's magic key, then?
This thread just proving why they're CHILDREN'S books and adult's shouldnt be re-reading them as they just suck the joy out of everything with their adult brains! smile

Peachyjustpeachy Wed 17-Jul-13 08:36:19

Jw is banned in our house. She has nothing to say that is welcome here. She actually said that kids are horrid these days. The reporter said....but you write about kids like this... And she said, I might write like that but it doesn't mean that I agree with it.

So a hypocrite as well!

cory Wed 17-Jul-13 08:42:30

I found JW good for discussions, but then I am an avid reader and used to sneak into dd's bedroom at night to nick her books (and get told off the next morning when she couldn't find them).

Not sure this is an impressionable teen problem, though: don't teens read older literature? Would have thought even the older range of JW was more for the 11-12yos.

SinisterBuggyMonth Wed 17-Jul-13 08:50:01

I was all Judy Blume and James Herbert when I was growing up. So were my friends. JW would have bored the hell out me.

ElizabethHornswoggle Wed 17-Jul-13 09:22:40

*But it's like saying that Shakespeare was irresponsible by writing about two teenagers who kill themselves because they can't be together, or Harper Lee by writing about an innocent man who ends up dead because of a racist jury, or John Steinbeck when one of his characters shoots his friend dead and appears to get away with it. All of those stories are routinely read and enjoyed by young teenagers.

One of the marvellous things about fiction is that it allows both author and reader to explore possibilities without having to actually experience events themselves. I think most kids reading a story like that would be angry about the treament of the protagonist. I understand that recent events would have any parent worried about their child crushing on a predatory adult, but that's no reason to be hysterical about a book.*

^^ This! Brilliant and exactly my point. Just put a lot more eloquently! grin

gordyslovesheep Wed 17-Jul-13 09:35:07

I refuse to ban books oppressive they get burned if you find one? My Dd1 loves JW ...she met her a few weeks ago and she was delightful ...she certainly seemed to like the 200+ kids she met and had pictures taken with after the event

People need to stop being so hysterical over works of fiction

ElizabethHornswoggle Wed 17-Jul-13 10:11:43

Well said gordyslovesheep

I find banning books totally oppressive too, and actually really sad. How can we teach our children a love of books if we start censoring and banning them?
There'd be no works of fiction if we followed that train of thought.

Enid Blyton? Too racist and sexist. Burn them all.

Roald Dahl? Too violent. Crunching up children's bones and leaving them under windowsills? Throwing crocodile up into the sun to get sizzled up like a sausage? Poisoning Grandma? Burn his books too.

Judy Blume? Too rude. Her boyfriend 'coming' on the rug in front of the fire?
Burn all her books too.

Where would it end? Banning books is a slippery slope and a sad state of affairs. You all really need to get a grip.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Wed 17-Jul-13 10:16:37

I don't think the book should be banned. I think its clear from my posts that I think the book should have some sort of message included inside to explain that it isn't a love story, its an abuse story, and that contrary to what happens in the book to the main character, in real life a child would be supported and helped rather than blamed for their abuse.

Bumpotato Wed 17-Jul-13 10:37:19

Around 2002 in my area there was a married with kids, 38 year old teacher in all the papers for having an affair with a pupil.

He was the religious and moral education head. She left the school and he didn't lose his job. In fact he's now head of RME at one of the local independent schools so it had obviously not done his career any harm.

Story seems true to life to me.

cory Wed 17-Jul-13 10:44:14

I can understand if people want to keep certain books from their younger children.

But teenagers are people who are already out there facing moral dilemmas without adult supervision, people who will very shortly be living their lives totally away from the control of their parents- why would you not want to introduce them to difficult issues and have those discussions before it's too late?

If this book is really aimed at 14yo's (which I doubt: evidence suggests that books are usually aimed at a readership 2 or 3 years younger than the protagonists), then those are teens who will shortly be starting on their GCSE curriculum. In other words, they are supposed to have the maturity to analyse the portrayal of the female character in Of Mice and Men, the relationship between Pinkie and Rosie in Brighton Rock, the ambivalence in Seamus Heane's poem about the treatment of Irish women who had had sexual relationships with English soldiers.

We did Sons and Lovers at school when I was that age (and on one of my short visits to the UK), don't know if it's still on the curriculum. Plenty of morally dubious stuff in that one.

MangoJuiceAddict Wed 17-Jul-13 10:55:34

Jacqueline Wilson books are horrendous and I don't allow my DD (11) to read them. Yes, I understand that they have their place and are possibly useful for some children who are going through hard times. But there was one book (I think it was called Lola Rose) where the main character's mother had breast cancer and it really disturbed my niece, to the point where she was obsessed with my sister's health (her mum) and very paranoid about losing her. My DD read 'Vicky's angel' and became so obsessed with road safety she worried whenever she had to cross the road (the main character's best friend dies in a road accident). My DD now reads Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. That book sounds horrendous and is a gross example of victim blaming and failure to recognise abuse. I despair. JW books often place an unhealthy emphasis on appearance (I think this has already been mentioned in the thread). I'm still in shock.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Wed 17-Jul-13 11:12:12

cory, teenagers may be supposed to have the maturity to analyse other books with dubious content but I assume if its part of the curriculum they do it with some sort of guidance and discussion with adults to help them notice and understand the issues. A teenager (or child) reading Love Lessons might not have access to discussion about it or not have an adult who prereads it and brings up the topic with their child. That's why I think an insert to explain that it is abuse and to explain that in real life (generally, obviously pp's post goes against this) the headteacher would look into it properly and the child wouldn't just be blamed like that would be useful. Otherwise how is a child who has no concept of abuse from a person in a position of trust going to recognise that in the book? And would a child experiencing similar abuse be influenced by the book into not reporting through fear of being blamed and being made to leave school and their friends behind?

x2boys Wed 17-Jul-13 11:20:07

I read a similar book 15 yr old girl newly qualified teacher it was very cleverly done at first it was made to seem that as the teacher was newly qualified and presumably in his early twenties the age gap was not that much, and they wrestled with their feelings but eventually had sex school found out he was let go. she left school having failed all her gcse,s and teacher got a job in a crap college and continued to pursue young girls. I thought it was clever because at first you felt sorry for the teacher but by the end of the book it was clear he was a predator

Peachyjustpeachy Wed 17-Jul-13 18:50:08

i wouldnt let my dd watch programmes that i deem unsuitable, why on earth would i let her read something i deem unsuitable.

when she is an adult, she can read what she likes, but until then... I'm in charge.

sorry if you find that draconian or hysterical... but really, i dont care what YOU think... I care what my DD thinks.

Lazyjaney Wed 17-Jul-13 18:59:15

Dangerous things, books - they have all sorts of ideas in them that may pollute young minds. Best to have none at all in the house, that way is the safe way.

Wikipedia on Fahrenheit 451.......

Over the course of several decades, people embraced new media, sports, and a quickening pace of life. Books were ruthlessly abridged or degraded to accommodate a short attention span. The government did not start the censorship; it merely exploited the situation due to minority groups protesting over the controversial, outdated content found in books. The firemen were soon hired to burn books in the name of public happiness

TV soaps, Hello magazine and Big Brother, that's what young minds need....

bodingading Wed 17-Jul-13 19:27:19

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” &#8213; Oscar Wilde


WeAreEternal Wed 17-Jul-13 19:53:07

Personally I preferred the just seventeen books in my teen years.
I think I was a bit too old for JW.

Does anyone remember a series of books, I think they were published by just seventeen or another magazine.
There was a group of friends, a couple of them worked in a diner with booths, it was very american retro, I think one of the girls was called Kerry but went by kaz.
I think it was set in America as there was a bit about deviled eggs.
One of the girls was staying with an aunt or grandmother at the beach.
It was all about teen romance.
I loved those books but can't remember the named of the series.

ShoutyCrackers Wed 17-Jul-13 20:04:22

It's a story. Fiction.

God, people are weird. Credit teenagers with some sense- or do you think they're all going to have pupil-teacher affairs after reading this?

Some people are decidedly odd. And proper lol re book burning

ArtemisatBrauron Wed 17-Jul-13 20:08:08

I knew it would be this book from the title of the thread! My SIL read this when she was a very young teenager and I was shock at it then, I think I was 19 or 20 at the time.
It is definitely a weird message to send to young girls.

nailak Wed 17-Jul-13 20:12:03

when i was 11 i was reading flowers in the attic....

flatpackhamster Wed 17-Jul-13 20:18:59


I don't think the book should be banned. I think its clear from my posts that I think the book should have some sort of message included inside to explain that it isn't a love story, its an abuse story, and that contrary to what happens in the book to the main character, in real life a child would be supported and helped rather than blamed for their abuse.

They'd best do the same to Nabokov's "Lolita", then, hadn't they? Big red letters on the front saying PAEDIOS AER IN THIS BOOK SO WATCH OUT.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Wed 17-Jul-13 20:22:14

shouty, have you read the thread? Main concerns are not that a child/teen would be inspired by the book in regard to affairs but that they may take from it that they might as well not bother reporting abuse as they will be blamed for it like the character in the book. It would have been very easy for her to write the story as is but put a little note in the end to explain what should have happened. Yes, you can argue that she has no responsibility to do that but I'm disappointed in her as a person and author that she writes a book with such a strong victim blaming message and didnt think to counteract the potential influence that could have.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Wed 17-Jul-13 20:23:01

Was Lolita aimed at young teenagers, flatpack?

dirtyface Wed 17-Jul-13 20:30:30

bloody hell shock

i read a similar one as a teen actually but it wasn't by JW, can't remember who it was by but think it was also called love lessons?

the girl actually DATES her teacher for several months and sleeps with him and everything

well dodgy and i did not understand how dodgy it was when i first read it

EBearhug Wed 17-Jul-13 20:46:50

i read a similar one as a teen actually but it wasn't by JW, can't remember who it was by but think it was also called love lessons?

I think that was Love Lessons by David Belbin.

dirtyface Wed 17-Jul-13 21:01:53

yes that was it !!!

flatpackhamster Wed 17-Jul-13 21:58:48


Was Lolita aimed at young teenagers, flatpack?

What if one of them reads it? Can't be too careful. They might read it and decide to go on a road trip with their lodger after their mother dies.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 17-Jul-13 22:05:14

Prue gets victim blamed because a classmate hears her telling her teacher that she loves him and they should be together, the school never finds about about him kissing her and encouraging her feelings which is why he gets to keep his job.


shrinkingnora Wed 17-Jul-13 22:05:23

Whoever said their 9 year old was reading Kiss - you need to read it first and decide. It's about a gay boy kissing his friend and th fallout and angst. My 9 year old would probably find it confusing but I would be happy for her to read it in a year or two.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 17-Jul-13 22:05:47

*I'd imagine if Prue told the teachers everyth

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Wed 17-Jul-13 22:06:46

*I'd imagine if Prue told the teachers everything, the book would have had a different ending that didn't come down so hard on her. I don't think many people here have actually read the book.

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Wed 17-Jul-13 22:09:37

Op thank you, dd is only 5 but you have made my decision she will not be reading it

manicinsomniac Wed 17-Jul-13 22:30:16

My daughter (10) loves Jaqueline Wilson books and, mostly, I think they're brilliant.

The problem with Love Lessons (and the other ones with more 'teenage' themes like Kiss and Girls Under Pressure/In Love/Out Late) is that the reading age required for them is the same as for the rest of her books aimed at 7-12 year olds. But the maturity required to understand Love Lessons properly (with the unreliable narrator as somone upthread pointed out) would be 14ish when most girls have grown out of them anyway.

I haven't given my daughter any of the 'teen' JW books and by the time I would be happy for her to read them I don't imagine she'll want to. However, I don't really censor and if she discovers them for herself then so be it, we'll talk about them.

Off topic-WeareEternal are you thinking of the Heartbreak cafe books? I loved those but thinking back they had very 'mature' themesshock

rabbitlady Wed 17-Jul-13 22:52:03

i don't know why people allow that woman's drivel to be put into print.

rabbitlady Wed 17-Jul-13 22:53:19

at fourteen, i was reading jean genet. my daughter was reading Irvine welsh at that age. get your daughter something decent to read.

ArtemisatBrauron Wed 17-Jul-13 23:00:51

a worrying I wondered the same thing! Isn't there a scene in one of the books where the main character has to flee from her preppy boyfriend's lakeside cabin because he is trying to rape her?! hmm

I loved those books, somehow the full impact of some of the themes was obviously lost on me

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Wed 17-Jul-13 23:02:27

flatpack, that's a bit different. This AIBU is clearly about a book aimed at teens not an adult book teens have stumbled across.

euro, the head teacher is aware that it was somewhat reciprocal as she says there could be a court case had she been another type of head teacher and he would lose his job i.e. if she reported it as she should.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 17-Jul-13 23:04:24

I have to say, i agree with Oscar Wilde.

I too read ALL sorts as a pre-teen/ teen. I'm very opinionated about what my children are allowed to watch, but I really don't see too much harm, or influence coming to them from what they read.

NannyPlumIsMyMum Wed 17-Jul-13 23:04:58

I was very dubious at first about JW books - but my DD is an advanced reader and was fed up with what school were sending her home with.

So we have an agreement that DD free reads now her own books.

They have all been JW ones and my DD loves them because they deal with real life issues . No princesses or make believe lands for her!

I have enjoyed the stories that she has read : Sleepover, The Mum Minder , The Suitcase Kid . Am grateful to JW for re starting my DDs love of reading again.
School had got her on quite dull chapter books about guinea pigs etc so she lost all interest.

cory Thu 18-Jul-13 00:08:11

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Wed 17-Jul-13 11:12:12
"cory, teenagers may be supposed to have the maturity to analyse other books with dubious content but I assume if its part of the curriculum they do it with some sort of guidance and discussion with adults to help them notice and understand the issues. A teenager (or child) reading Love Lessons might not have access to discussion about it or not have an adult who prereads it and brings up the topic with their child."

But if you are a parent aware enough to be checking your dd's reading and banning certain books, why can't you have that discussion with your child instead?

And if you are not, then you won't be banning the book in the first place.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Thu 18-Jul-13 00:33:32

Did you read any of my posts, cory? I'll repeat myself for one last time just in case you haven't.

I don't support banning books. There will be many teenagers who read this book alone with no parental input or discussion. I read it alone as a teen with no adult input because I would read many books in a week (sometimes two or three a day) and my mum would have had a hard time policing what I read as a result. I didn't bring the book to my mums attention as I did not realise it was a story about abuse so as far as I was concerned, what was there to discuss? When the main character was victim blamed, it didnt resonate with me because I had no experience or knowledge of abuse.

My concerns are for the children reading who do have knowledge of abuse or who may be being abused. If they read a book like this and recognise it as abuse, they will also recognise that the child was blamed for the adult's actions. That in turn could make them think they would also be blamed and may influence them to not tell someone they are being abused or to seek help from a "safe" adult like a head teacher. That is why I think JW should have included a note or set of discussion topics at the end (like some adult authors do like Jodi Picoult) so that the reader can understand that the head teacher should not have blamed Prue and action should have been taken against the teacher.

Tl;dr version.
Not banning books. Explaining content for lone readers who don't have access to discussion.

Lazyjaney Thu 18-Jul-13 00:50:58

What interests me more is that when these books were written it was romance, now it's considered abuse in some quarters a generation later. In another generation the age of consent will be 14 or 15 and teen readers will be scratching their heads to work out the plot as it will be irrelevant.

There was a woman on Womens Hour today saying that sexual mores change even faster than social ones, this bears her out.

Louise1956 Sun 21-Jul-13 19:21:45

i haven't read it but it sounds appalling. teachers should not be snogging 14 year old girls under any circumstances, and that he is a married man makes it even worse. to write about this as if it is okay is really not on.

Raindrops0nRoses Sun 21-Jul-13 21:38:54

Scarily I remember reading this book as a young teenager and not batting an eyelid when all of the blame was placed on the girl. Nor did I really think the teacher behaved inappropriately... The way it is written tries to make out that it is the girl who is lacking in judgement, rather than the teacher.
Big wake up call! Definitely won't be allowing JW in my house!

ohdearnevermind Sun 21-Jul-13 22:54:45

I've just finished a children's literature course- there was a great quote that I'll try to find about censorship. It basically said that children and teens tend to 'self-censor' when reading e.g. that they skipped over things that they didn't understand or didn't want to deal with. I remember reading one of my mum's book at about 10 and not understanding about 80% of it, but not wanting to try and find out more!

FayeTurner123 Mon 31-Mar-14 21:57:13

I'm sorry, but Jacqueline Wilson is a very skilled author. She addresses issues in her books that others would avoid, and she does it fabulously. She really gets into the mind of the character, which most of the protagonists are aged 9-16. Also, 'Love Lessons' is one of the books aimed at older readers, as it says on the synopsis on the back.
She is highly successful and her writing style is distinctive amongst others; books such as cliffhanger are better suited to children. wine

FayeTurner123 Mon 31-Mar-14 21:58:36

Also, she's not writing about it 'as if it's okay': she is writing about it to WARN GIRLS. Get a grip

rabbitlady Mon 31-Mar-14 22:42:29

are you her agent? thread died months ago. her writing is poor, her storylines distasteful. she isn't warning, she's titillating and prompting inappropriate fantasy.

jellybeans Mon 31-Mar-14 22:56:46

YABU. I wouldn't have a problem with it. My kids read JW. Why would teens not have books about what they (some readers) want to read? Why should they have to read only what adults deem they may want to read? Why should everything be sanitised?

JohnCusacksWife Mon 31-Mar-14 22:57:38

This book doesn't sound good, I agree, but please don't write off JW on the basis of this one book. The Hetty Feather series has been hugely educational and inspirational for my DD. Some of her other books deal very sensitively with issues like disability, friendship, bullying, death etc.....all written in an accessible style suitable for younger readers.

jellybeans Thu 03-Apr-14 12:36:30

Who should decide what is suitable or teens, parents or teens themselves? Should it be entertaining or moralising?

JerseySpud Thu 03-Apr-14 12:58:19

Im :O at the amount of people who have read the stuff. I feel old.

Then again at age 10-12 i was reading Judy Blume... and she was just as bad!

morethanpotatoprints Thu 03-Apr-14 13:05:25

Maybe we should have a cull and burn all JW books. My dd has asked for them and I'm so glad I got her to read other stuff.
At least parents know now and if they continue to buy the books its up to them.

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

burning books hmm seriously

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

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.

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

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


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

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.

ComposHat 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.

CrayolaCocaColaRocknRolla 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.

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.

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

ComposHat What's Alan Rickman done?

CrayolaCocaColaRocknRolla 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.

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).

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

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

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

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

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

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.

CrayolaCocaColaRocknRolla 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!

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

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 17:01:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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?

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

Sorry flick he's a horrible, horrible man.

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.

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!

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.

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