My family will vouch for the fact that as I read Penny Dreadful, I exclaimed, "Oh, yes! I love this book!" about twenty times. There is delightful prose. There are characters who read, with plenty of allusions for book lovers to spot, like "Then one day after her finger stopped on a book called Magic or Not? Penelope wandered out into the perfectly manicured lawn of her backyard, holding a folded scrap of paper. There was a decorated wishing well of sorts in the middle of the Grey's backyard..."
Everything was going swimmingly toward a canonization of Snyder in my favorite authors of the 21st century, when Bam! She hit me on the head with a little boy named Twent, his long-haired, pregnant mother Willa, and his other mother, Jenny.
For a moment, Penny shared my dazed confusion. "Your wife?" "Sure," Willa smiled happily. "Twent's other mother. She's at work now, but you'll meet her one day soon..." Penny looked over at Twent, who seemed not to be paying any attention. She'd never known anyone with two mothers, but then, she'd also never known anyone with hair to her knees. Or anyone with a pet skunk."
On her website, Snyder recently posted about this topic: "I didn’t write Willa and Jenny into the book to make it a gay book. I wrote them to make it a real book, an honest book. A book about the world, which is full of all kinds of people."
I can totally agree with those motivations. The world is full of all kinds of people. But what I cannot accept is the way Snyder wrote Willa and Jenny into the book. Notice her words choices:
Sure = Of course, silly! Being a lesbian isn't out of the ordinary, not one bit.As Snyder writes on her blog, "if more books represented diversity this way, simply, without it being a big issue all the time, more kids would understand that it isn‘t always a big issue. I’d like to think that children’s books are a wonderful way to begin the process of educating people about how varied human experience is, and about how all of it, all of it, is normal." (emphasis mine)
Willa smiled happily = Look at me. Lesbian relationships are satisfying and joyful.
She'd never known anyone with two mothers, but then, she'd also never known anyone with hair to her knees. Or anyone with a pet skunk = People just happen to be a lot of things. White, black, timid, brave, rich, poor, old, young...
The only problem is, being a lesbian is not normal. It's not something that "just happens" to people, like being poor or brave. In fact, when you look through Biblical glasses, homosexuality is, well, an abomination.
Characters like Willa and Jenny, however, with their happy little family, show elementary-age readers that Christian beliefs are hateful and silly. Add these characters to the full-blown assault of politically-correct propaganda that is molding America's children.