justice_turtle: Image of the TARDIS in a field on a sunny day (David Collings Cratchit)
justice_turtle ([personal profile] justice_turtle) wrote in [community profile] readallthenewberys2012-10-06 11:50 am

Review: Shen of the Sea (Arthur Bowie Chrisman)

Summary: Short stories set in China, written by a native of Virginia, USA. It is unclear to me whether the author had been to China (as he claims in one story that he had) and collected folktales for inspiration, or whether (as Wiki asserts) they are simply "original creations". Okay, this review on the collaborative Newbery Project blog tells me that the closest Chrisman got to China was San Francisco's Chinatown, where he claimed to have gotten Chinese folktales from a shopkeeper with the aid of translators, and that Chrisman spoke no actual Chinese (of any dialect).

Reaction: OH JOHN RINGO ARTHUR CHRISMAN NO. AUGH. I got through four stories of the lot - a third of the book's length - and then STOPPED BECAUSE NO. Loads of cultural appropriation! Pidgin English! Blatant misogyny! Domestic violence as comedy! Everybody acting like idiots! MISOGYNY WAY MORE BLATANT THAN CHARLES BOARDMAN HAWES, and that's saying a bit.

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy is this, this, one of the early Newberys that I have heard mentioned as Recommended For School and still in print? :P

Conclusion: No stars. Because I told him on the second page, after he describes a dad-mom-boy-girl family but states that the mom's "name is forgotten" and doesn't even bother mentioning that the daughter HAD a name, that I was going to give him No Stars if he didn't pass Bechdel by the end of the book. And then I stopped reading the book after a story where a wife threatening to beat her husband for preventing her brothers murdering him was... the driving force of the plot. Also I gave him one more chance after "the very odd foreign devils in their so peculiar language" to NEVER EVER USE PIDGIN ENGLISH AGAIN and he blew it in the domestic-violence story. :P

So. Um. Yeah. I would like to state, this is a shame! He was really good at funny, catchy writing that kids would appreciate! He just also needed to have all his attempts at interacting with or referring to non-white-male-adult people BURNED WITH EVERLASTING FIRE. O_O
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)

[personal profile] bookblather 2012-10-07 05:32 pm (UTC)(link)
OH ARTHUR CHRISMAN NO is my new phrase. Because OH JOHN RINGO NO sounds good but John Ringo was genuinely repentant and generally a class act about the whole thing and also OH ARTHUR CHRISMAN NO sounds kind of awesome. IMO.