Revisions

Writer Cody talks about changes to his novel ‘Ricochet River’

[T]his new version of the coming-of-age novel is missing certain sexual references and profanity that Cody thinks caused some high schools to ban it from their classrooms.

In one, the book’s main characters — all teens — spend the night in a hotel room in The Dalles. It’s a comic scene that has been one of Cody’s favorites for out-loud readings. But it involves alcohol and sex, and Cody understood parents’ and teachers’ discomfort with the messages the scene might send to high schoolers.

Cody removed this scene and toned down another that occurs in the woods near some mating salmon. He also replaced a few expletives.

Caveat: I don’t know this book.

That said, hmm. He says he did it because he understands teachers feeling uncomfortable with those bits in the classroom, not because of right-wing pressure / book banning.

Yeah, I dunno. Isn’t it the stuff that’s uncomfortable that’s most important to deal with–not avoid?

Alcohol and sex is the reality of high school for a lot of people. Aren’t we better off acknowledging and dealing with it directly that than pretending it doesn’t happen?

And seriously, profanity? Profanity is the reality for everyone.

A lot of people seem to want childhood/adolescence to be something that simply doesn’t exist. That never did exist. I think it must be true that when most people grow up, they forget what it was like to be 7, 10, 15.

In one of Madeleine L’Engle’s books (I think it’s Circle of Quiet) she talks about how when she’s writing about being 15 (or a character who’s 15), at that moment, she is 15. When I first read that, it was an “aha” moment for me. I realized that when I was telling a story of something that happened when I was 13, I’d go back there, I’d be 13 again, if only for a moment (people would sometimes comment on how worked up I could get about things that happened years ago, and I guess I wondered if I was weird for still being able to feel my 13yo pain). I think that ability is essential for a writer, but I guess not everyone has it.