May 19, 2004

Troy, by Adele Geras

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it's a good telling of the story of the Trojan War from the perspective of two young sisters who live within the walls of Troy. And it remains fairly faithful to Homer's story line and to the mythical aspects of the story. One of the girls works in the Blood Room where all the injured warriors are brought for treatment and also cares for the young son of Hector when his mother needs to do her royal duties. The other young girl is a maid and assistant weaver in Helen's household. She has the gift of being able to see the gods for who they are thru their disguises which makes for some interesting conversations. Both are caught in the crossfire of the war and its aftermath. And war is not pretty in Geras' story, nor is it a glorious exercise of national pride. Unlike Homer, Geras brings into the story real human emotions and conflicts. She's not writing a heroic epic. She's giving us a personal narrative that is behind the epic story. And itís really well told.

And that's where my problem comes in. The story is so good and yet Geras throws in some very inappropriate sexual content that just bugged me. And it bugged me more when I saw the litter of awards and honors for young adult fiction this book has gotten from all sorts of "reputable" organizations. The conflict/problem in the book isn't caused when one of the sisters has a roll in the hay with a young warrior. The problem is that the other sister also has her eyes on him. It just made me uncomfortable reading this as a young adult book. She could have done it as well, if not better without the sexual content. As an adult, I enjoyed it. As a mother, I will not be giving this to my 14-year-old daughter.

Posted by Deb English at May 19, 2004 05:08 PM