Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weaseling Out of It (Or why LB: the kids pales in comparison with other YA Literature)

So Judd rushes over to Chaim's house but it's engulfed in flames and there's nothing he can do. So he listens to a news crew report on the disaster then goes back to General Jew's house and talks about Rayford while watching the news.

Next section, surprisingly enough we're still with Lionel and Judd. Lionel is wondering if they should take Z-Van's offer so they can get back to the states. Judd, demonstrating a few brain cells, is worried about what Z-Van will do if he finds out they're RTCs.

And that's seriously all that happens at the beginning.

In America, Vicki and the others are working on the kids' version of the website and agree to take turns keeping watch so that they can watch Nicky's resurrection.

At midnight, Vicki is awakened by Darrion and they begin their watch. Since Darrion has been a little on edge lately, Vicki decides to talk to her. I thought about quoting their talk but it would be a very long quote and I don't like to take up that much room, so I'll summarize for you.

When Darrion was thirteen, she sneaked out of the house with a friend and went to a party. While at the party, which was at the house they are currently staying at, she was raped. Well, I have to be honest with you and admit that they don't actually use the word "rape;" they weasel around it though, avoiding never actually saying what happened to Darrion at the party.

“I’ve heard that something like one out of every four women will be hurt like that in their lifetime,” Vicki said.

“Yeah, well I’m one of those statistics.”

I suppose I should give Ellanjay or the ghostwriter a little credit for taking on such a loaded topic, but I'm still rather disappointed in them. YA literature, nowadays, has proven time and time again that it is capable of handling issues such as rape just as well as adult literature. In fact, given that young people aren't immune to rape, it may be even more important for YA literature to confront those issues head on. Ellanjay aren't really doing teens any favors by being all shy and weaselly about what happened to Darrion. I suppose whoever wrote this section was thinking more about the RTC adults buying these books for their teens to reinforce the catechism being taught at home, but again, they aren't really doing the teen readers any favors. After all being an RTC doesn't protect you from rape or assault either.

I will give credit where credit is due, though. The blame isn't placed on Darrion; it's placed on the perps, which is where it belongs. Too much RTC art uses rape to punish the bad girl for her misdeeds; I don't need to go into all the wrongs associated with that.

Darrion admits that she still feels like it was her fault and Vicki says,"No, it wasn't." She then wakes Shelly and Janie and has them take over their watch. Darrion protests, saying that their time isn't up, but Vicki says this:

“It’s okay,” Vicki said. She grabbed a flashlight and opened the back door. “Take me to where it happened.”

Uh, Vicki, I'm not sure it'd really be all that good for Darrion to go to the woods and point out where she was raped. I'm no expert on this, but wouldn't it be better if she decided to return to the spot, rather than be dragged along by a friend?

The section cuts out here and we're back to Judd. Basically all that happens is Judd talks to Mr. Stein about Z-Van's offer and decides to take it. Me, I question why the writer or writers decided it was a good idea to cut back to Judd, when Vicki and Darrion were in the middle of such a drama-laden, crucial moment.

Vicki and Darrion reach the spot in the woods and kneel down and pray. Gotta give whoever wrote the section some credit: there's some nice sensory detail with the description of the cold and snow in this section. It's basic stuff but it works. The chapter ends with this revelation.

Vicki took her hand. “You put yourself in a bad place by trying to get back at your parents. You were na├»ve. But what they did is on them. Nothing justifies that.”
Darrion dropped Vicki’s hand and stood up, eyeing her. “You seem to know an awful lot about this stuff.”
Vicki bit her lip and had to wipe away a tear. “I’m one of those statistics too, Darrion.”

Second chapter continues with Darrion and Vicki. Turns out Vicki was taken advantage of (again, they never use the word "rape" or "assault") by her uncle. When she told her mother about it, her mother blew her off, saying that her brother would never do such a thing and that she'd punish Vicki if she ever said anything like that again. Vicki admits that for a long time, she felt it was her fault until she talked with Bruce Barnes about it and he sent her to a female counselor, who really helped her.

Wow, so Bruce Barnes apparently isn't completely useless. I have to say that I don't mind this retcon in the least; it adds shading to both Vicki's and Bruce's character.

Judd and Lionel are packing to leave Israel. Sam is upset and decides to stay with Mr. Stein so he can be the YTF's man in Israel. The section ends with them taking off.

Vicki awakes to go see if there's any news about Nicky and to answer emails on the website. Vicki proves she's not completely rock-stupid by assuming that some are from the GC trying to entrap them. Neal Damosa comes on the news again and makes a speech about Nicky.

“All of the death and destruction we have seen in the last few years could not prepare us for this moment. Most of you have lost fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and it may feel at this moment that you have lost another family member.”
“Oh, give me a break,” Conrad muttered. “Can you imagine having Carpathia as a family member?”

Fred already touched on this in his latest post but lesson learned from Left Behind: evil people spring from concentrated evilness. They do not have families or loved ones and anyone who is saddened by the loss of an evil person, even if it's just a case of them pondering what could have been, is evil.

They receive an email from the pastor in Tucson, saying that Buck's brother and his family were killed in a fire. If you're wondering, they did become RTCs before the fire killed them. The YTF notes that Chaim's house was destroyed in a fire and wonder if that's the way the GC's going to get rid of RTCs. Me, I wonder if there's a less attention-getting way of getting rid of people, like say having a secret police drag them away in the middle of the night. Although, I'll admit that the fire could serve to drive home the point to other secret RTCs that you're not safe.

They decide to try to contact Charlie. For those of you who've forgotten, Charlie was the guy who decided to stay with that hick couple, Bo and Ginny Shairton. They realize they haven't heard from Charlie in a while and start to worry that they left him in a trap.

Next section, yet another short one with Judd deciding to tell Z-Van the truth. That's seriously it.


Firedrake said...

A fair bit of YA literature is very heavy-handed about its issues: every character has Their Problem, and going to the right sort of counselling is the only answer to any of them. For RTCs, of course, that would mean church counselling. (And nobody working in such a role could ever be more concerned over keeping his/her own job with the church than over seeking justice for a child.)

Man, this stuff is padded, isn't it?

RubyTea said...

Huh. I have to say that this whole subplot surprises me, coming from Tim 'n Jerry. Hell, the closest they come in the series proper to such a sensitive personal topic is Chloe feeling fat and unattractive while she's pregnant.

Mouse said...

Yeah, RubyTea, I highly suspect that this subplot was the product of the ghostwriter because like you said, this sort of thing doesn't seem to be up Ellanjay's alley.

Mouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.