The last acceptable prejudice pops up in children's books

A review of a childrens’ book set in the Middle Ages.

I didn’t think people still brought up the Inquisition, because most of the myths have been discredited.

Maybe nobody expected them to bring up the Inquisition…

Sounds like an extremely weird book, whether or not it’s attacking the Church. People who write these bizarre books for 11-14 year olds must have an agenda. I remember reading a lot of Zilpha Keatley Snyder books when I was that age, and while none of them attacked the Church, they were all concerned with witchcraft and the supernatural, and even when I was 12 they struck me as having been written by someone odd.

So I read both the review JimG posted and comments on Amazon about the book. The author’s idea seems to have been, to write a twisted version of The Canterbury Tales, add some gore and sex inspired by ASOIAF, and do it at the YA level. :eek:

(As the story apparently mentions the tale of Heloise and Abelard in detail, and that\ is actually pretty ASOIAF - worthy if you want to get into the nitty gritty of how Heloise’s uncle punished Abelard for seducing her. But unlike some other “tragic lovers” no one really knows are cares about the story anymore. I did come across some of their letters in an anthology of love letters I read, that’s the only reason I know of it myself.)

The really disturbing thing is that the book actually won a Newbery Honor, and the vast majority of Amazon reviews praise the book. :eek:

That being said I’m not sure if the story was meant as a deliberate attack on the Catholic Church as it exists today, or is just an example of someone accepting at face value some popular myths and misconceptions about the Middle Ages, or perhaps relying on outdated sources.

BTW I have read one of the books mentioned as medieval themed alternatives to this book in the review. The Door In the Wall. Wonderful book about a knight’s son who loses the ability to walk after an illness, putting his own future in jeopardy, and is taken in by a friar. I have not read *Adam of the Road *, apparently it’s about a minstrel’s son, but I might do so, I certainly still enjoy reading “children’s books” if they are of high quality.

their chief weapon is surprise! surprise and fear… fear and surprise. their two weapons are fear and surprise… and ruthless efficiency! their three weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency… and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

Heloise and Abelard was a plot point in “Being John Malkovich”. That’s where I heard of it.

Good one :rotfl:

Heard of it first aged around 12 or 13 in an English lesson in school when a teacher referenced it in connection to a book we were reading. A couple of books at home had more information on it as we had a rather eclectic set of books on the shelves at home when I was growing up, some were collections of medieval popular romances, tales and legends and it popped up in there. One or two I stil l have, including one from the Victorian era with rather lavish illustrations which has all sorts of stuff in there, including Arthurian myth, the Romance of the Rose and loads of other stuff.

This books sounds like it has an interesting idea but is trying to exist in a cartoon universe, I can think of much better books set in this period also which show ugly and beautiful sides to the Church and society as a whole and which strike me as much more likely to be showing a more rounded picture of that world. It’s difficult to know as all who lived then are long, long gone but the view that the naughty Church was oppressing everyone seems unlikely.

Silly, silly…!

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