Fractured Mode

I was very excited to see that a fourth book of a Piers Anthony series I had read as a child had been published a few years ago (see original blog post here). I remember reading the Mode books, and that I’d liked them! I remember all the characters’ names, their quirks, and the general plots of the previous books. What brought all this up was my search for books to introduce my growing boys to. Maybe I’ll get my oldest some Piers Anthony books? But while doing that, I’m going to revisit them myself!

Reading it as a 35 year old mother vs a 12 year old child is a lot different. I am a lot disturbed by it. I’m at chapter 3 and I’m finding it difficult to keep reading.

A grown man, married twice already, crosses worlds to find a new wife (whom he has to emotionally drain), and settles on a 14 year old girl-? Why- WHY- did Mr. Anthony make her 14 and how was that publishable? Why couldn’t she be 17, or why did she have to be a high schooler at all? Why not 20? 25? Especially as she’s somehow brilliant in math and physics. Not only is she 14 and decides she’s undoubtably in love after one kiss (a fairly matter-of-fact, pretty horrible affair), the girl has some serious issues. She’s a cutter, and flirts with suicide quite often. Somehow, that doesn’t bother me as much as how he makes this man the only source of happiness for her- that she can only be happy only with him- the grown twice-married older man whose sole intention is to drain her emotionally until she’s nothing but a shell. And sex. That without him- at 14– she’s better off dead.

Luckily I didn’t buy any others. There’s little sensitivity towards her in the writing. Hearing a male writer talk about a young girl’s perception of periods, sex, rape, and her body is also disturbing and cold. I’m not opposed to my son reading about the majority of these things (as I obviously did), but I don’t want him to adopt this indifferent mentality. Or think that sex and impromptu marriage and running off with strange people is a good thing. Or that rape- gang rape, at that- isn’t that big of a deal for a victim. (‘victim’, according to this portrayal) It’s all very Kantian.

I got on Goodreads to gauge other people’s opinions, and saw many voicing this and other issues.

Think Piers is scratched off my list of books to give the boys.


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