Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Flowerpot Men and Royal Blue
Last spring, when I posted about walking the Capital Ring through South London, I included a picture of some curious home decorations. Some of you immediately identified them as Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, who were the subjects of an old children's TV show on the BBC.
Well, when I was walking the last segment through East London over the weekend, I found these two figures on someone's patio. More Bill and Ben! Now at least I understand what they mean!
I just finished a book called "Red, White & Royal Blue." A co-worker bought it at an airport while traveling, and after reading it was conflicted about putting it in the school library collection -- she offered it to me for a second opinion. It's about a college-aged son of a fictional female U.S. president. The son falls in love with a British prince, and the two carry on a clandestine relationship that (of course) is eventually revealed to the public. At the end, as the president fights for re-election despite this revelation, and the prince and first son try to navigate their lives together, I actually got misty-eyed! On one level, it's completely silly, but on another, I found it quite entertaining and optimistic -- and in her afterword the author, Casey McQuiston, says she was motivated to write the book partly to give progressives some hope after the disastrous U.S. election of 2016.
As Booklist said in its review, "In between sweet and steamy love scenes, 'Red, White & Royal Blue' allows readers to imagine a world where coming out involves no self-loathing; where fan fiction and activist Twitter do actual good; and a diverse, liberal White House wins elections. This Blue Wave fantasy could be the feel-good book of the summer."
We added it, despite those steamy love scenes. I think it's fine for an older high school student, particularly at our school, which emphasizes tolerance and inclusion. I wouldn't check it out to anyone under tenth grade, though, and we'll have to be a bit careful because the cover is bright and cartoony and suggests a book for younger readers. The perils of the school librarian!