Something Must Be Wrong With Me
A Boy’s Book About Sexual Abuse
Every time I think I won’t find more, they just show up. Long time readers on this site will recognize this author/illustrator right away. Our old friend Doris is back with another compelling issue of our time. (If you are new to this site, start with the all time ALB favorite: Satan for Kids and Satan for Kids Part 2. I am sure it will change your life.)
This time we have a sexual abuse situation involving Dino and the basketball coach. Dino goes to coach’s house and showers with him and evidently poses for a few pictures too. This upsets Dino and he finally tells Mom. Also a magic/god-like dove appears to give Dino some inspirational words. Coach ends up in trouble and on trial and Dino attends a support group and the dove shows up on the last page and gives another inspirational speech and all is right with the world. Another crisis solved in just a few pages.
I’m not sure why this is awful. Yes its Christian-based and the dove is a little weird but its a book that might have actually helped a child. It is unrealistic that is solved in a few pages but that’s what you’ve got to work with in a children’s book.
Picture a kid coming home with this from library day at school…awkward! Not a great bedtime story! And text-heavy, so boring to listen to. Should be shelved where parents, counselors, etc., have access when necessary.
The “LOVE-DOVE”? In all caps? That’s somehow the most disturbing part.
I hope this doesn’t get explicit in what the abuse is.
I read up on the Satan for Kids and Satan for Kids 2. Wow! The lack of words doesn’t have the same response when it is only typed out.
Also, question: The rest of Doris’ books have the description “A Child’s Book About [Something Awful],” but this one specifies that it’s for boys. Does this mean that there’s another one in her opus specifically for girls?
And, as usual, that terrible pencil work is making me queasy.
As a matter of fact, she does have one specifically for girls, called I Can’t Talk About It. And it’s a double whammy, dealing with both child molestation AND incest, since the abuser is her father. And yes, the dove makes a return.
Surprisingly though, judging from people’s reviews that I’ve found it appears to be one of Sanford’s (very few) better books, with the one gripe that most reviewers have being the dove mentioning near the end that one day she’ll be able to forgive her father. Some sexual abuse victims never come to forgive their abusers and they may see it as pressure to do so.
Yup. The back cover lists some of Doris Sanford’s other works and their topics. It includes “I Can’t Talk About It (sexual abuse – girls)”. A lot of the titles on that list look familiar, but I don’t think ALB has featured all of them yet. (I’m pretty sure I Can’t Talk About It hasn’t been featured, at least.)
Yes! You’re right–I didn’t look closely enough. Too bad anthropomorphic birds providing answers that are potentially going to do more harm than good in later life are Doris’ solutions to child abuse.
I did it! I actually bought me a copy of I Can’t Talk About It off of Amazon. I know, crazy move, but I guess it’s part bile fascination, and part keeping it out of easily impressionable children’s hands. I don’t have Something Must Be Wrong with Me to do a side-by-side comparison with, but I feel like Can’t Talk just might be even worse than Something. First of all, it already starts with the dove being right there with Annie, the protagonist (and yes, it is indeed the same LOVE-DOVE that visited Dino from Something). Secondly, Annie tells LOVE that she’s already tried to tell her mother about her father’s abuse three times and her mother didn’t believe her. (You know, classic neglectful-abusive parents as expected from a Sanford book.) And yet somehow she believes her the fourth time O_o not to mention that even though her mom says “it’ll never happen again”, they don’t mention her father going to court like Dino’s coach ends up having to do, plus the heavily stressed point on the second to last page about Annie needing to one day forgive her father. Like I said, I don’t know if Something also stresses the forgiveness part, and soon I’ll get that one too to compare with. Also, I realize Can’t Talk was written in 1986 and Something was written in 1993, but that doesn’t really excuse not going back and updating Can’t Talk with at least a brief mention that Annie’s father went to court or was jailed. Because it almost makes it seem like it’s saying girls need to forgive more quickly than boys, or that you can be angry at a stranger all you want, but if it’s your dad then you need to get over it, and soon. Dx
What’s really disturbing to me is the “Love Dove” taking off after telling the poor kid that he was just easy pickings for Coach Pervert. And does anyone else think the little boy looks like Ralph Macchio circa “The Outsiders”?
There’s a bare chance this could be helpful in the hands of a psychologist or social worker, but on it’s own I’m wary of it.
Dino kind of reminds me of Dondi.
I KNEW who the author was going to be from the top CENTIMETER of the picture when I loaded the front page. That’s how profound my hatred of Doris is!
I know, this website’s given me an allergic reaction to colored pencil drawings.
It was the divorce! If mom and dad had just worked out their petty little problems, Dino wouldn’t need the LOVE-DOVE to save him from a lifetime of PSTD. And just where was little LOVE-DOVE when the marriage was on the rocks??? Hunh?
Don’t you mean PTSD? PSTD sounds like Pre-Sexually Transmitted Diseases. PTSD is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I noticed that too, Hollis. It was like Doris was implying that Dino’s abuse was really all Mom’s fault for divorcing Dad and not being around enough (presumably because she’s too busy being a *gasp* WORKING MOM).
I’m sorry, I just can’t stop reading Dino like what you might name your toy stegosaurus…
Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, they’re the modern stone age familyyyyyy~!
I was thinking Flintstones myself.
Wait a second…think on this one for a moment: a TALKING DOVE tells a young boy everything he wants/needs to hear during and after his cycle of abuse. What message, exactly, is this sending to young children who are also victims? If you pray REALLY HARD, you’ll have your VERY OWN LOVE-DOVE? And what happens when this magical animal fails to appear? Then, not ONLY do you have a child who already feels guilty and blames himself for the abuse, you have a child who blames himself for not trying hard enough to make some damn bird appear! Good goin’, Doris. Another winner!
The kid looks like he’s wearing a lot of eye makeup…I wonder what the Anti-Gay Brigade would say about that!
The kid looks like he’s wearing a lot of eye makeup. I wonder what the moral guardians would have to say about this.
Sorry about the duplicate comment.
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