Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Polly and the One and Only True World" will impact the YA world with its timely message

Climate activist and literary theorist Danny Bloom says of the new YA novel "Polly and the One and Only True World": (set for release in October 2014) --

"Polly and the One and Only True World" is a dystopian YA cli fi novel
that tackles some pretty heavy
themes, and author Don Brede has pulled it off without a hitch. The
story he tells is stormy, dark and deep but it ends with a note of
hope as well, as befits a YA novel. It's not all gloom and doom. It's
a story for our times, and it's going to hit some might big nerves
along the way to publication and acceptance. Given that America is
still a very Christian nation, and that Brede's book goes

into some pretty strong issues concering free thought and Christian
fundamentalism, I asked the
well-respected Vermont author if he expects

criticism and backlash and even perhaps nationwide book banning due to
pressure frrom the legions of Christian fundamentalists and climate

denialists (sometimes the same people but not always) out there.

He told me: ''Sure, I do expect some criticism and vitriol --
especially from fundamentalists-

- that is, if the book gets any attention at all. In fact, I'm

sure that a number of mainstream book publishers who passed on the
novel when it was submitted to them by my agent were leery of the

reception in might receive, and they also recognized that a large
market for YA fiction -- the

public schools and public libraries -- would probably not be in play.

As it happens, my first novel ''HARD FEELINGS'' in 1977, which was a
popular success, was

also a banned book in many communities. What will I say in 2014 and
2015 if this new novel runs into

protests and book banning from religious groups nationwide?

First, I'll point out that the novel is a fantasy, of course -- a
cautionary fantasy

for young people. It presents a futuristic realization of the dire
outcomes of trends we

can see today in our culture and in the wider world. Will America
become a repressive

theocracy? Probably not. But the possibility is undeniably there, and
there are, right now,

virulent factions in the culture that would love to make it happen.
Beyond that, I deplore

the indoctrination of young people into organized systems of belief in
the supernatural.

To the degree such influences persist, I believe these are still the
Dark Ages. I would like

young readers to consider the perspective, exemplified by Polly, that
gods are not real and

that the stories embraced by faith systems are nothing more than old
myths, whose purpose

as guides to conduct and as soothing counters to all we fear, like
death, is no longer very

helpful or useful. Far better to believe only in what we can be
reasonably (if provisionally)

sure is true.

Just as alarming are the trends toward a severe disruption in the
delicate balance that the

world's climate has enjoyed for many thousands of years. Increasingly
intense storms,

permanent drought, coastal flooding, the collapse of the Gulf Stream
and of industrial

agriculture and international trade--and, as a consequence of those
cruel stresses, the

potential for religiously inspired terrorist violence a thousand times
more devastating than

9/11--are unquestionably worth pondering right now, for the sake of
forestalling them if we


Then, too, the main character, Polly, and the book's heroes are
witches. Their recourse

to magick (which we know is not real) stands wryly juxtaposed in the
novel to things like

earnest prayer and exorcism and belief in Satan and the Rapture (which
we should know

are not real)."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading POLLY, but then again, I'm a deep green
climate activist and a longtime untheist.
But get ready for when this 333-page YA novel hits the streets! The
proverbial you know what is going to hit the fan and all hell is going
to break loose among the Christian fundamentalists who populate this
evolving nation in pockets north, south, east and west. Polly is going
to be a big wake-up call for teenagers everywhere, but along the way,
it's going to meet some strong, mean resistance. It's always  been
this way in Americ. Don Brede has done it again!

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