book reviews, reading

I Actually Threw a Book Away This Morning

It’s not often that I don’t finish a book or won’t promote a book I’ve read, even if it wasn’t my absolute favorite there’s usually something I liked about it. And I’ve never thrown a book away physically until this morning. Let me back up though to explain myself before you get the pitchforks out! Weeks ago, my husband and I watched King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. It was supposed to be a six movie franchise that fell through when it spent more than it made, but I loved it! It got me curious about all the Arthurian Literature out there. When I was completing my BA in English Literature I took an Arthurian Literature class. Mind you, this was over ten years ago so I barely remember what I read but I do remember “The Mists of Avalon” was one of them. I remember because it was the only book I’d ever given a one star rating to. I absolutely hated it. But as I sat picking out new Arthurian literature to read I couldn’t remember what it was I hated about this book exactly. During my early twenties I was definitely more Twilight, less medieval, but that’s changed now. Maybe I would like it I thought. So I bought a used copy from some library in Kentucky and dove in. It was good. There was a lot of Christian hate and you could definitely tell the woman who wrote it didn’t think much of marriage or a woman being tied down, but I was still enjoying this time period piece, anxiously awaiting King Arthur to appear on the scene as I read the love story between his mother and father blossom. Then, I decided to check out some reviews on Goodreads. I found one that mentioned “Yes, that author” and had a link, so naturally I clicked it and it led to a blog post about Marion Zimmer Bradley and how in 2014 her daughter spoke out against her with accusation of child molestation! At first I thought it was a joke article. No way it could be true. Then I read more. Her husband was arrested and died in jail. There were claims of molestation and rape from the age of 3-12 by both parents. It made me sick to my stomach to even think about! I knew in the book issues were tackled about women and marriage and sexual freedom and I had already read about a husband forcing himself on his wife and I was only 80 pages in. I saw everything in a whole new light, though. I had to put the book down after reading those articles. It bothered me that it was even sitting on my nightstand while I slept. I knew I couldn’t continue to read it. As an author I know all too well how our beliefs, values, and personal lives creep into the very bones of the books we write, the stories we tell, and the characters we create. I just couldn’t bring myself to travel deep into the mind of a known child molester. And it made me so sad to read that this poor woman who suffered so much as a child never spoke out because she didn’t want to mar her mother’s legacy, to disturb everyone who was helped and empowered by her mother’s work. Even after everything her mother did to her and allowed to be done to her by others, she still had the desire to protect her mother, her lifelong work, and everyone that work helped. I was heartbroken for her, but I’m so glad she’s found the strength in her to speak out and that there are so many people behind her and supporting her. Needless to say, the one star review remains, because I’m sure it was there for a good reason. It was a part of the curriculum in 2011-2012 when I took the class, but I’d be interested to see if it’s still required for their Arthurian Literature class after the 2014 allegations. I’d hope not. All I can say is that the deprivation of this author must have leaked through the pages and even then it was enough to turn me from it and leave the terrible review I did. This book is now sitting in the bottom of my kitchen garbage waiting to be thrown out of the house. The very act made me feel so much better. I then grabbed Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory. I’ve only read the forward to the Canterbury Classics version of this legend but I’m excited to dive in.

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