Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stealing Bradford - Melody Carlson

Well, I said I’d try another Carter House Girls book, and I did. The second book in Melody Carlson’s new series Stealing Bradford is along the same lines as the first book. When you place six girls in a boarding house with an adult who hasn’t got a clue about raising teens and doesn’t particularly care about them except to make sure that they don’t embarrass her – well, what do you expect?

In this book Grandma Carter actually calls a meeting and tells them that they are going to govern themselves. Right. Girls that are loaded rich, with displaced parents are going to govern themselves and do a good job. NOT! I’ll grant you that some of them do begin to form friendships, but no way are you going to see two baby Christians with no adult supervision or guidance rightly “guide” the rich girls through teen angst in public school.

Stereotypically, the rebel with the punk hair (Casey) agrees to a remodeling of her look after the school bullies almost beat the pulp out of her. The hateful girl who is determined not to get along (Taylor) winds up the victim of a trashy Myspace prank that was perpetrated out of teen jealousy over a boy. And DJ and Eliza sort of emerge as the leaders of the pack, albeit with their own teenage hormones raging.

Call me cynical, but this is like an entire teen world abandoned by the adults. Maybe that’s reality. I know when I served with my husband as a house parent for a boy’s military boarding school there was plenty of evidence that kids were pretty much thrown away by their parents. But I just don’t see how these books will help or entertain teens. Maybe they should be advertised as warnings for parents to do a better job. I feel sorry for this group of girls. I’m working now as a volunteer at a women’s rehab facility, and Melody Carlson’s characters are going to wind up there one day if some adults don’t take responsibility and start directing this ship. Bottom line: these kids need parents – BADLY.

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