Thorn Birds Forever!
October 19, 2009
A friend just cited The Thorn Birds as an example of inappropriate preteen reading, which triggered all kinds of memories for me. I read my grandmother’s paperback copy openly, I suppose because it was a sweeping historical saga set in the Austrailian outback, and one had to go hundreds of pages between explicit sex scenes. Perhaps no one credited the speed at which I could skim.
As I recall, the love affair between the heroine and priest was nowhere near as hot as the courtship heavy petting between the heroine and her husband-to-be, who turned out to be a total lout once they actually got married. But the part I remember most? A scene from her childhood when she got lice and her long red hair was cropped to the skull and doused in kerosene. The sheep-shearing passages loom pretty large, too. (Wonder what a therapist would make of that?)
Seems like about the same period (I must have been around eleven) when I bought the paperback reissue of Forever, Judy Blume’s controversial novel of a teen’s first sexual encounter. I found the book disappointing–the main character was too pretty, petite, and popular for my liking–and my sensibilities were likely already too blunted by furtive reading of my dad’s porn “library.” But that’s for another post.