Those who know me know my parents aren't just great parents; they are exceptional. Those who know me also know that I love to read. I love words. I love stories. I love books. I've always been a reader, and I will read anything from any genre any time. My parents nurtured this. There were no such things as "banned books" at my house; in fact one of my summer pastimes in high school was to read at least one book from the banned books list. That's how Catcher in the Rye
came to be a favorite. Still, there is a big difference between good writing that makes you think and trash writing that warps your mind. I credit my dad with helping me discern the difference.
It happened one summer in middle school. I bought a book with my own money that in the most genteel terms can only be described as "inappropriate." It was really much worse. I thought I'd done a good job hiding it as I devoured every trashy image, word and sentence.
Sometime that week my dad came into my room and sat down. He didn't ask what I was reading. He didn't mention the book. He didn't freak out and confront me. He said simply, "You know, what you read affects you. A lot of things you read are not 'real life.'" I came to understand later that the "real life" statement meant, "You don't want to live that way. It's not the life I want for you."
The next morning, I threw the book away. With just a wee bit of calm, gentle guidance, my dad changed the direction of my thoughts. He taught me I was better than that. He taught me to discern bad from OK and good from best. He taught me not to settle.
Later, I also came to realize the Apostle Paul taught the same thing, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable -- if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise -- dwell on these things" (Philippians 4:8, HCSB).
That's why I'm not freaking out about Fifty Shades of Grey
. I haven't read the books and I won't see the movie. It's trash, pure and simple. I don't need to speak into the conversation.
But I think maybe my dad should speak into the conversation. On behalf of good fathers everywhere, I think he should say to young women everywhere,
"Remember, what you see affects you. You're better than this."
Labels: banned books, Blog, Book reviews, exploitation, Fifty shades of grey, immorality, literature, movie reviews, oppression