Body of evidence

This post was written by guest blogger Jimmy Beck.

Jimmy here. Why Maud thought it was a good idea to hand the keys to her Ferrari to the literary equivalent of Billy Joel, I have no idea. Thanks, Maud–I’ll try not to soil the carpet too much.

My five-year old daughter brought home a fresh crop of books from the library yesterday. This is always exciting for her mother and me, because we get pretty goddamn sick and tired of reading Pocahontas ad nauseam, despite its overwhelming narrative power. Still I admit that my heart sank a little when I saw the girl had checked out The English Roses by Madonna, given some of the reviews. Nevertheless, I vowed to judge the work on its merits, not on the author’s previous misadventures. Well, this POS is arguably the Shanghai Surprise of children’s books. Francesca Simon nailed it:

I would have to say: “Mama, don’t preach.” The hectoring authorial voice keeps butting in – it is awkward, clumsy and preachy. You have to watch that in children’s writing, you have to be charming. A good children’s book has to leave space for the audience. There is a moral to discuss here, but so is there in the Bible stories. The English Roses has no characters, no story and there is no tension, which is a problem.

You think? Personally, I liked her better as a shiksa.


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