The ginger and peanut biscuits?
The raspberry and chocolate cake?
Or the moderately healthy (but only in comparison to what you saw above) tomato and basil salad drizzled with Parmesan infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with feta served with a bit of pesto and a King Island Double Brie?
Perhaps you'd have stuck with the clichéd Aussie bar snacks of salt and vinegar or BBQ chips or peanuts, and a Hahn Light beer, served first to tie in with the book's location in a seedy Sydney pub. Don't worry - we had champagne as well...and tea and coffee served in my Royal Doulton tea set to follow. Such fun being able to use it for a crowd!
Here's the book itself, The Glass Canoe by David Ireland. I blogged about it here. Featuring in Australian Classics - 50 great writers and their celebrated works by Jane Gleeson-White, the book is not an easy read, but difficult books make for the best book club discussions, in my experience, and last night was no different.
My book club members are an erudite bunch with two current school principals and the wife of a retired one as well as two English Literature teachers, a couple of other teachers, and a smattering of dummies like moi. The best discussion of the night centred around whether The Glass Canoe was appropriate for Year 12 school students. Scheduled as part of the NSW HSC syllabus in the early 80s, the book was called 'pornographic' by parents, and caused somewhat of a furore before being withdrawn. I can understand why! Maybe this is another reason why I homeschool my daughter - so that she is not exposed to books like this before she has the life experience and maturity to deal appropriately with their subject matter. Pleasingly, the general consensus last night was that the book was inappropriate for 17 year olds, although we all thought that the book fell short of the definition of pornography as a depiction of erotic behaviour intended to cause sexual excitement. (Oh what is this post going to do to my Google searchers?) Our local school principal cited her principal (!) concern as the tone of hopelessness that pervades the book, feeling that right to the end there appears no way out for this group of marginalised Australians. I felt glad to hear her opinion.
What do you think? Are 17 year olds old enough to deal with adult themes of sex, drugs and alcohol? When do you introduce these subjects to your children? Ever? Is it appropriate to shield them from the darker side of our fallen world, or does this cause problems later? What's your opinion? What's your experience?
I'm going to set this up as a discussion in The Peaceful Community. Feel free to answer here or there or both. I am enjoying the input from people outside my usual blog readership over there, and they way the discussion continues long after the post is forgotten. On the other hand I don't want to destroy the wonderful comment chains we often find here, so I'm treading cautiously so far with this community thing. Hop on over and have a look around if you haven't already. There are discussions on books for Ancient Egypt, Bible reading plans and children's books. I've also started a discussion asking for help in solving the problem with my blog's formatting. This is really getting me down, to be honest, and so if you would jump over there and give me some details I would really appreciate it.
Finally, I've some photos of the flowers from last night. I really enjoy readying our peaceful home for guests, and the garden put on a nice showing last night. Enjoy!