Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Rough Compilation of the Flurry of Emails that the FIRE vs CALPURNIA TATE BoB elicited:

Which can be found here.

Joanna: What has she been reading that she hasn’t found a happy family? Nancy Farmer on Calpurnia: “There are so few books anymore that portray a happy family. I think children need to know that not all families are riddled with divorce, infidelity, child abuse and drug addiction, the favorite topics of children’s books today.” Happy? Wasn’t the mom drinking all day because her kids drove her nuts? LOL!

Patti: I was really surprised that Nancy Farmer was so hard on Fire. I thought it was a really good read with great characterization. I liked Graceling better, but still I really enjoyed Fire. And on Calpurnia: Not only drinking, but horribly repressed!

Sally: “What I particularly like is the unstated (yet clear) love the characters have for each other.” Yes. Love comes oozing out of every door and window of the Tate house. Uh-huh. Calpurnia has many fine qualities, but portraying a happy family is not really one I’d attribute to it. Just sayin’.

Patti: I know! And the mother was pretty much self-medicating with booze. I can’t even see how we read the same book!

Sally: Yeah—some call it “headache,” others call it “hangover.” Perhaps you and Nancy didn’t read the same book! Maybe the judges just gave Nancy a copy of Little Women with Jo March’s name changed to Calpurnia Tate! I declare a conspiracy!!!

Patti: Ha! Now that would be something.

Patti: I can’t help but feel Cashore is going to be crushed. Farmer writes some dang good fantasy. I’m sure Cashore looked up to her. Maybe at some point Farmer just stopped reading and now it is all, “those blasted problem books being written, bah humbug.”

Joanna: I thought Fire was dismissed thoughtlessly. I have not read Nancy Farmer, but I understand her to not be shy of violence. I haven’t read Fire, but I thought it did deserve a better discussion by Nancy Farmer. I was surprised by how short she was with it. She came across as terse. We’ll see how long Calpurina goes, especially since she’s up against Charles & Emma next. I LOVE battle of the kids books!

Joanna: “Viola is an especially interesting character, caught as she is between slavery and freedom. She never forgets her or anyone else’s social standing, but is loyal to the Tate family. Her personality is vivid and intelligent.” But also dismissed?

Patti: Good point Joanna. I wasn’t as happy with the way the book dealt with race.

Joanna: Oh man, now I am going to be addicted to this!

Sally: I confess, I’ve read neither Graceling nor Fire, so I can’t really comment on either one’s possible superiority or inferiority to Calpurnia. But the Battle’s still fun to watch.

Sally: I really do love Calpurnia. But it’s easy to smack about, what with the accolades it’s racked up, you know?

Joanna: And it didn’t help that Fire was so completely slammed that we had to stick up for it!

Patti: You know we weren’t really making fun of Calpurnia so much as we were strongly disagreeing with Ms. Farmer’s notion of Calpurnia.



Laura Lutz said...


I couldn't agree with you more. As ever, you've hit the nail on the head.

Sally, you must. But there's been so much hype now - difficult to read unbiased?

I can't wait to meet some of you at TLA!!!

Patti said...

Laura, we are looking forward to meeting you! TLA is so much fun!

Dog Ear said...

I really enjoyed Calpurnia Tate: the characters, the description, the language. But I also LOVED Fire (yes, even more than Graceling). So while I'm glad Farmer is praising Calpurnia, don't write off Cashore. There has been a glut of terrible fantasy books since Harry Potter. Cashore stands out as one deserving to be read.

Patti said...

The rest of the BoB judgments don't seem to be affecting us as much! This one seemed to really hit a nerve though.

joanna said...

I do have to say that I was bummed to see that Helen Frost said she wouldn't put LIPS TOUCH in the hands of a young person. Are not teenagers young people? Grrr.

Patti said...

That one did strike a nerve. Lips Touch was a sexy little number, but nothing that was inappropriate. I mean really.