|Homo- or paederotic? Really?|
After I posted my review, I scrolled through a few of the other 11,000 reviews and 213,000 ratings. Seriously. And I quickly realized something. People are deeply polarized by this book. The majority of reviews are positive. The bulk of negative ones talk about the book's "one dimensional cardboard cut-outs," "infallible, mostly emotionless and paper thin protagonist," "side stories that didn't add to plot development," primitive writing", and "pathetic New Age garbage." One reader said, "I threw my book across the room after I finished it."
But then I stumbled on criticism that made me do a double-take. "Bizarre homoerotic subtext....It creeped me out and I'm gay." "Creepy pedophile vibe." "I believe the author's conceit and prejudice played a big part in my being unable to enjoy this book [throwing] homo or perhaps even paedo-erotic undertones into starker relief."
Huh. To me, the author's mention of boys in various stages of undress as they prepared for bed or showered, wasn't as weird as how the lone prepubescent girl in the barracks was naked right along with them. But this was a tiny part of the story and I moved on to embrace larger concepts.
The sex reference criticisms made me wonder, so I did a little checking on Orson Scott Card. He appears to be a very opinionated man. And a very religious man. He writes a critique column in his local newspaper: Uncle Orson Reviews Everything and blogs his opinions freely: The Ornery American. He wrote a rambling diatribe in 2004 proclaiming that marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman (as well as stating that men and women are inherently foreign to each other.) He spent an awful lot of time explaining how gay people can marry: all they have to do is make their marriage a sham by marrying someone of the opposite sex. He seems to be endorsing closet homosexuality. Is outrage over this article the genesis of reading sexual overtones to what I viewed as simple scene descriptions?
|The controversial and beloved Orson Scott Card|
Whatever the answer is, I figure the way he gets his name out there and the fact that he doesn't shy away from expressing himself probably attracts more readers than repels them. Even if someone's expressing outrage about him, they're saying his name. I bet people have read the book just to check out the sexual overtones themselves. I mean the guy's got 11,000 reviews written about this book just on Goodreads. And I personally don't care what anyone privately thinks if they can write a good story.
What about you? Would you ever refuse to read an author's work of fiction if you disagreed with his/her personal philosophy? Do you think your disagreement with the author's personal philosophy would color your reading of his story?
Kim Van Sickler