Here’s a little excerpt from a very positive review of the book, “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” in today’s New York Times:
“….In the other stories the danger may be less operatic, but it’s no less alarming: a child molester lures a 7-year-old boy into a portable bathroom at a carnival; a tattooed stranger tries to abduct a teenage girl…”
Talk about the perfect Mother’s Day gift!
Now, I’ve got nothing against authors choosing whatever subject matter attracts them. But if you ever wonder why we feel so worried all the time about pedophiles and abductions and even — especially! — public bathrooms, just look at the world view pop culture feeds us. Whether it’s CSI, Law & Order, the movies (Changeling, Taken), the tabloids, the TV news or “literature” (see above), the way they grab us is by showing children in dire peril.
We get so used to slogging through these stories every day that they start to seem commonplace. I mean, the author profiled in today’s paper could have written about a man who cleans portable toilets, rather than a guy who lures boys into them. He could have written about tattooed strangers who spend their time studying sea turtles, rather than abducting teens. But no — there has to be a child rape and/or murder involved to make things “interesting.” (Which, by the way, I think is usually a cheap trick, on par with comedians using swear words. That way, even if they’re not that talented, they’re still “shocking.”)
Anyway, the good news is that, in the real world, crime peaked in the early ’90s and has been going down ever since. Best of all? The U.S. Department of Justice reports that sex crimes against juveniles declined 79% from 1993 to 2005.
Just don’t expect to read a book about it. (Except mine, of course.)