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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

So as discussed earlier, mini FP turned 12 the other day.

As he’d been given quite a hefty Christmas/Birthday present at Christmas, I’d said he wasn’t getting one from me. But I stumbled across a box set of old literature ‘for boys’ books. Yeah, yeah, I know…blah blah canon, blah blah ‘boys adventures’.

But the thing is, he’s been digging out Raymond E. Feist and Terry Pratchet books when he can’t get new Alex Rider novels, so I know he can read at a level beyond those ‘pre-teen’ series books and that he was up for a challenge. I figured if I could get him into these books I’d open up some challenges, get him interested in different styles of writing and prepare him for literature study in high school.

Anyway, he opens this box set of old school books and he looks mildly disappointed. But five minutes later he grabs ‘Tarzan’, takes off and devours half of it. I ask him on the walk home what he thinks. He says “it’s a bit racist, but the story is not bad”. I tell him I’m really pleased he can pick out the racism in the books, and we have a discussion on this, and on the fact that you can expect to find that in a lot of British books of that era, and that being able to flag it as a problem is a big achievement at twelve.

My family didn’t know what to get him, so I bought books from each of them as well, including an illustrated but full text version of Don Quixote, which he’s rather taken with now (after looking at me like my sister had gone made after he was presented with it). He’s devoured it now, and he’s getting a real kick out of the cultural connections in books (ie/ he told me nothing much happens in Treasure Island, but was delighted to realise ‘Yo ho ho and a bottle of Rum’ pre-existed Jack Sparrow;  and can be heard excitedly explaining to anyone who will listen that the expression ’tilting at windmills’  comes from Don Quixote.)

I’m really enjoying his enthusiasm, his ability to tell me what he thinks is boring, what he thinks is great, where he sees racism, what bores him even though it’s *meant* to be awesome. I don’t want to instil the idea that people who’ve *read* the *right* books are better, or that canonical books are better, I just know there’s cultural cache in being familiar with many texts, and that the more breadth he gets to his reading the more ready he’ll be for English in High School and beyond – plus the Alex Rider novels pissed me off when I picked one up and on the first page there was a major geographical mistake with South America…

As well as all this, we had a date to go shopping for a new computer game, but I had come home from work really ill. I gave him the option of travelling to get it himself or waiting til I was  better. It was a big deal as this suburb is about a 15 minute bus ride from here, and a busy place. He had his phone, and his keys, and he took himself off. He checked in regularly and turned up at home proud as can be both of his new game, and of his grown up adventure.

Anyway…all this just goes to me being proud that my boy is growing up.

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