Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat byEmily Jenkins & Sophie Blackall (2015)

I'm hesitant to even write about this book.  The only reason I picked it up was because I had read someplace - perhaps The Guardian or maybe New York Times that because there was outrage (internet driven, I'm sure, the new past-time) that Jenkins and Blackall depicted smiling slaves; Jenkins had to publicly apologize and is now donating the proceeds from the book someplace.  I don't remember where.

I'm a middle-aged white guy (albeit a gay one), so I have exactly zero experience in being black.  It wasn't offensive to me; I also can't really understand the why it would be offensive.  I thought Jenkins did a pretty good job explaining herself in the back.  Guess not though.  I feel sorry for her, because I bet she thought she was doing  a good thing.  No good deed goes unpunished.

I wonder if future authors and illustrators, aware of the furor, will just say "fuck it" and write about something else.   

Gay people do this too.  A lot.  Attack each other over language and hurty-feelings.  I'm not sure it helps win people to your cause.

Ugh.  I don't know.  I've read a Goodreads review that put it into new perspective.  Jeesh.

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious TreatA Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A one star for controversy and racial insensitivity. And really, at the end of the day, just three stars for the book overall. For a kind of dull book, it sure generated a lot of furor. I liked it, don't get me wrong. It actually has cute pictures (smiling slaves and all), and a cute story. It's cute. But that's about it. I think it's one of those picture books that has "teacher" written all over it (in invisible ink). Like the works of Patricia Polacco. It would have made a fine addition to a lesson plan on something (slavery even). It's not really all that interesting; it did make me hungry for blackberry fool.


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