We are almost decided on signing up my son for a “great books” English class online, instead of having him take English at his Catholic high school this coming school year. As one last bit of due diligence, I want to ask if anyone has opinions on any of the following books. These are some of the books that are read at his school (some during freshman year, and some during sophomore year). I have omitted books that I know are fine (like a couple of Shakespeare plays), and I’m listing only the ones that I am not very familiar with or that look like they might be problematic:
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
- On Writing by Stephen King
- The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
- The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
I am somewhat familiar with Lord of the Flies, and I know the basic story. I also have heard that the Stephen King book is very good, except that he uses a lot of profanity.
I have done a bit of research on the others (mainly reading the book descriptions and some reviews on Amazon), but I don’t know much about them. The Secret Life of Bees and The Bean Trees both look like they might have a feminist slant, though I am not sure about that. I also read that The Bean Trees discusses sexual molestation of a baby girl, which is not something that I want my high schooler reading about. And I understand the basic idea behind Nickel and Dimed, and I could see it potentially being a very good book, but I could also see it potentially being very problematic in some ways.
If anyone here has read any of these books, or has heard any reliable information about them, I would appreciate your perspective, particularly whether you would consider these to be appropriate and worthwhile reading for a Catholic high schooler.