Friday, September 4, 2009

Girl Goddess #9

This is my seventh review of a book on the MAZIARKA LIST, and my second of a book by Francesca Lia Block. This review is based on the HarperCollins E-Book edition.

Girl Goddess #9 is a collection of nine short stories, each about different young women in very different circumstances. The stories are similar to each other in that each reflects a young woman's path of self-discovery through one or another stage of adolescence. An interesting part of Block's writing style is to describe scents, flavors, and textures to complete the emotional picture of various scenes. My favorite of the nine stories was Dragons in Manhattan, which describes a girl growing up in New York with her biological mother and her mother's female partner. In junior high she becomes aware of the differences between her family and other families, and yearns to find her biological father. She runs away to search for him, and her journey turns into one of discovery of herself, her parents, and the world around her. It's a good read.

While too grown-up for younger children, many teens will enjoy this collection. There is no violence, but some strong language is used. Drug use is mentioned, but is not glorified (one character dies of an overdose). Sex is mentioned, and in two places there is a very brief description of a sexual act. The objection of the would-be censors, as near as it can be estimated, probably has more to do with the fact that some of the characters are gay, and one is transsexual. There are no illustrations.

There is, as usual, no justification for asserting that this book could even come close to meeting the legal definition of obscenity. I hope that by now it goes without saying that I welcome a clear explanation of the standards used by the would-be censors to classify this work as objectionable, and a clear explanation of exactly what they want the library to do about it.