The Lovely Bones - Middle School Appropriate?

The Lovely Bones - Middle School Appropriate?

Kaltir Kaltir
My sister is in college to become a teacher, and her professor was discussing lesson plans. The professor and one other student made a huge ordeal about how The Lovely Bones would be an appropriate book for a middle school classroom. They say that it teaches kids about realities they should be aware of. My sister and her other classmates argued that it is far too extreme and detailed, let alone that it is not the goal of an English class to teach students about the types of things in that book. There are sex-ed classes for that. I also feel that while yes, students should be aware of dangers, you could choose a book with less detail that still got the point across, and it wouldn't be worth it to anger so many parents that would be against their kids learning about incest, etc from a middle school English class. What are your views/concerns on this?
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TitsMcScandal TitsMcScandal
First of all, there is no incest in The Lovely Bones.

I believe I read it in middle school for the first time (either that or freshman year of high school). Now granted, I was also reading college textbooks at the time and taking classes for people two and three years older than me. However, the main character in the book was in the beginning of high school when she was raped and killed. Are these themes too intense for middle school classrooms? I don't think so, but I know many parents who would disagree with me. I think this is what makes having a classroom community so important. If parents are involved in their students education, active in the classroom, and knowledgeable about what is actually being taught- there is a lot more tolerance for more adult subject matter. Giving the parents a copy of the book so they can read it if they please, giving the parents a copy of the lesson plan, having a night before you start the book where parents can ask questions are all important. It can be done, quite successfully I believe, but if done poorly I can see a major backlash happening.
DeliciousSurprise DeliciousSurprise
What level of middle school, fifth grade or ninth grade? (Some middle schools start at different times, and end at different times; I've seen fifth grade as part of middle school, and ninth grade as part of middle school.)

I think it would be appropriate for, hm, maybe 8th grade and higher.

Depending on the region in which you're teaching, parent outreach may not work; where I live, offering the parents copies of the book would be useless as a lot of parents here just don't have the TIME to read a book, but will be mightily upset if their child is reading things they consider to be inappropriate.
~LaUr3n~ ~LaUr3n~
I only saw the movie and do not remember any incest.

I did not read the book so my opinion is not as warrented as others, but I do remember my friends reading it my freshman year of H.S. I was 14.
freshbananas freshbananas
phunkyphreak phunkyphreak
I feel that this book is appropriate for middle schooler they here and see far worse then that on everyday basic tv not even cable.I do not think that this would shock most kids as they are exposed to so much sex everyday anyways. I think it does teach and great story and there really is only a few pages of sexual content that is not that descriptive. I love to read and I think it is a wonderful & sad story that most people could read and find something in. And now days everyone is so god damn sensitive to everything & everyone. You will offend people if you are reading To Kill and Mockingbird or The Lovely Bones. *steps off soap box*
Kaltir Kaltir
You'll have to excuse me for posting this after a very long couple of days. Maybe my sister didn't explain it to me right, but I would have sworn she said incest. Regardless, the main point was that the book is very graphic, making it inappropriate for middle school.

@DeliciousSurprise - We're talking 6th grade here.

@TitsMcScandal - I have to agree with DeliciousSurprise - I don't see most parents having the time to sit down and read a book in a timely manner. Not all of them anyway. And it only takes one unhappy parent to ruin the idea of using this for a class, so how is it worth the risk? Maybe The Lovely Bones isn't too intense for a classroom full of gifted students, but we are talking about an average room of 6th graders. Most of them don't need to learn that lesson in English class when the school offers lessons geared towards that in Health and groups that visit and give presentations.
Eden C. Eden C.
I read it in middle school and I turned out to be okay. That's all I have to share here.
naughtyjo naughtyjo
I read it as a grown woman, and my stomach turned at the rape scene...I couldn't read beyond it. So yeah, it's graphic.

Both my children have seen the movie though, as I don'[t feel the subject matter is not too grown up (they need to be aware of such icky, evil men). It's just, well, the scene in the book goes into way more detail. Too much detail for the younger children in my humble opinion. I wouldn't put my children in front of the group rape scene in The Accused, and it would have the same impact as giving them a book with the rape scene The Lovely Bones has in it. IDK there are millions of other more suitable books the children could read, instead that are just as good, and less controversial.
Astia Astia
In my opinion, exposing middle-school aged children to something like The Lovely Bones is appropriate but ONLY if it is paired with a good education into the background of the book, the psychology of the things they do, etc. It would be fair to find a less racy alternative and notify parents that there is a choice between the two, if they find that The Lovely Bones is something that they don't want their child exposed to yet. I know for a fact that my parents allowed me to experience and learn from more mature movies and books by way of teachers sending out letters with their students, letting the parents know what was going to take place and that there was an alternative should they feel I wasn't ready to handle it. Of course, the teaching method would have to differ from what it so typically is (less focused on the facts and figures of the work and more focused on the overall idea, morals, etc. portrayed). Another way I suppose would be to read only excerpts and discuss them in a forum-type setting with the students.

(Sorry for wall of text)
mmike mmike
Yes, The Lovely Bones is appropriate for middle school students.

In elementary school I was assigned books, which included, The Call of the Wild, Number the Stars, A Thousand Paper Cranes and history books that taught about war and civil rights.

In middle school I was assigned books, such as Z for Zachariah. Z not only discussed a nuclear apocalypse, but the book also included rape.

There are lot of tough topics in The Lovely Bones all of which are appropriate for young students to talk about with a good teacher/guardian/paren t. Students should be exposed to those kinds of challenging themes. If there's one thing that students are not doing enough of, it's that they are not thinking critically. That, plus being motivated.
MaryExy MaryExy
I have not read the actual book (my sister did), but I saw the movie. I approve of the idea of showing kids at that age that these kinds of terrible things happen. I'm not sure about them reading the specific book, as I know that the scene in question is supposed to be incredibly graphic. But kids do need to learn that rape and murder do happen.

I'd say do sex ed in the early part of middle school, and then talk about rape and murder a little later, towards the end of middle school. Give kids time to adjust to the concept of sexuality before seeing how it can be abused. If they learn about the two subjects too closely to each other, I'm worried that they would end up confused and frightened about the entire idea of sex. That would be A LOT of information at one time. At the same time, though, I wouldn't want the kids to move on to high school and not know the ugly side of sex.
firekitten firekitten
I don't feel like kids in that age group are mentally or emotionally mature enough for The Lovely Bones. I read it in high school, and there are a lot of adult situations in the book. Yes, Susie is the age of a young high school student, but she is also raped, murdered, and watching the events unfold from her version of heaven. I don't think it's the kind of book that is appropriate to assign as reading to the "tween" age group. I don't think they would fully grasp all the meanings in the book, it's not even about it being graphic. There's a lot of emotional layers in there, and I just don't think most kids are ready to deal with.

The author of The Lovely Bones also wrote a book titled Lucky, which is based on her own experience with sexual assault in College. I tried to read it after I graduated high school, and while it's must less graphic than The Lovely Bones, I couldn't make it through it.

I don't understand, what would they be trying to teach the students?
Ansley Ansley
Originally posted by Kaltir
You'll have to excuse me for posting this after a very long couple of days. Maybe my sister didn't explain it to me right, but I would have sworn she said incest. Regardless, the main point was that the book is very graphic, making it ...
Your sister didn't explain it haven't read the book or seen the why don't you start there, first? Read the book. Make your own decision.

And I have to worry about your sister becoming a teacher if she adds non-existing concepts into works of literature. Just sayin'.

I haven't read it. I haven't seen the movie. I don't think children need graphic details of rape to understand that evil humans exist. If that isn't the focus of the novel, it might be ok. If it's just once scene, it might be ok. I can't really say for sure.
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