Conflicted feelings about the politically incorrect?
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It's probably my age showing, but I read more than a few of these as a kid and they still have that age's aura attached to them in a positive way. This thought came to mind when I rediscovered the title Two Little Savages, a book I found fascinating as a kid. IIRC, two white boys learn a whole heap of native American craft in a boys-meet-nature story that's generally low on action but high on education. The title alone suggests some disrespect these days, and I no longer remember whether the content does the same but you have to assume.
More recently I've discovered and read Swallows and Amazons, and finally read Peter Pan, noting the off-kilter depictions and language in a few places but knowing all the while that, had I discovered or taken the time to read them when younger, I'd have been fully engaged and labelled them favourites.
I have read that original editions of Mary Poppins are far less correct than later editions, and I'm curious to seek one out just to compare.
It's unfortunate to have such good feelings about a book and yet feel it's not appropriate to share with your kids or recommend for those of others - at least not without a whole heap of parental guidance.
My own "good feelings" about a bunch of beloved childhood books changed when I tried reading them in adulthood. I'm not eager to test them all; I'm content to leave the rest as pleasant memories. But, yes, it has made me careful about what I think I can recommend.
Perhaps there is a little too much assuming going on. Both member reviews of the book are very positive, including "A wonderful summer read." and "Interesting and practical. Suitable for young teens (boys or girls)." But like you, not having read it, who am I to say?
I can't let your "off-kilter depictions and language" in Swallows and Amazons pass unchallenged. I'm guessing it's the Swallows calling the locals, and particularly adult locals, "natives". What else are you going to call the native ('locally-born') population? Similarly the Amazons saying Uncle Jim had gone native; yes, he'd come home from abroad and fallen back into the habits of his native place, much to their chagrin. If the word "native" pricks North American sensativities, that's not Arthur Ransome's problem.
Goodness only knows how much parental guidance would have to be doled out before a child was allowed to read books where, for example, racism or discrimination is written into the setting, books like Stig of the dump, Mr Stink, and pretty much all of Jacqueline Wilson and Malorie Blackman's most popular titles.
Edited to tweek touchstones.
Older books that we enjoyed reading as children or teens, possibly without even noticing any politically incorrect elements, can be more difficult to justify. One of my books, 'The Temple of Fire' by Lewis Ramsden (A. Lisle Dowding) has been called racist by one reviewer. I'm not trying to justify the outmoded views held by certain of the characters, but I suggest that the 3-part time-frame of 'The Temple of Fire' needs to be kept in mind.
a first backstory, taking place in the 7th century CE;
a second backstory, taking place in the 17th century CE;
the original publication date of the book - 1905 CE.
Oh, and this is a lost race tale, with Siren Island having had no contact with the rest of our world for more than 3 hundred years.......how dare these people not hold to the views politically acceptable in 2016!