other times and places
Me. Fiction. Love. How? Let me count the ways…okay – I’m clearly not going to do that. Too many. But ONE of the ways is the ‘taking me to time zones and places I can’t otherwise visit’. So, four YA books I’ve read recently – Robyn Bavati, ‘Dancing in the Dark’, Julia Lawrence, ‘The Push’, Kirsty Murray, ‘India Dark’ and Gabrielle Wang, ‘Little Paradise’ have taken me, very engagingly, very persuasively, to interesting places. But I’m sad to hear that Robyn has been getting a hard time about ‘Dancing in the Dark’ from some members of the orthodox Jewish community in Melbourne who see the book as overly critical and so have banned it from some school libraries. I hate the idea of banning books. Hate it. (Although – upside – it will guarantee that the kids from those schools will definitely read it.) The book in question is wonderfully even-handed in its depiction of religious practices and beliefs. There is one aspect of this particular orthodox Jewish community’s culture that gave me the horrors though, and it is the idea that girls’ education is less important than boys’ education. The girls in protagonist Ditty’s family are only expected to complete school to year 11. Boo! And hooray to Robyn for shining a light on unacceptable inequities such as this. ‘Dancing in the Dark’ is not an ‘anti-‘ anything book, but it is a book that endorses the right of young people to be informed, and to make their own choices. And that is a fantastic message in anyone’s book.