Against All Odds
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"Against All Odds" is a name we have arbitrarily assigned to a group of stories and novels that have fascinated us at Familylight sm .   It is hard to find a truly descriptive name that spans all of this category and excludes what is outside the category.  We are not sure this is the best possible name.  These stories and novels have in common that they give a insight into adolescents that we simply don't find anywhere else.  Most -- not all -- involve some kind of accomplishment that is truly against all odds.

We believe that people who enjoyed the movie "Finding Forrester" would also enjoy this fictional literature.

Our recommendations are initially directed to an adult audience. We realize some adults will be offended by the frank nature of some content of these stories.   However, the gap between what children and teens, starting no older than middle school, experience daily and understand as entirely normative compared to the expectations of their parents and grandparents   Understanding teenagers in 2009 requires understanding things not usually discussed in polite company.   Most writers seem to lack the courage to write about such things -- at least where the subject is children and/or teens.   These writers do not shrink from writing in frank terms about adolescent sexuality, some being more explicit than others. 

It is our hope that parents will read some of these stories, then encourage their sons and daughters to do so, leading to some productive family discussion.  If these conversations occur, they will likely be awkward at first but will lead to a kind of open communication that now occurs in very few families but would be good for all families.  This is not just about what the teens would learn from their own experience; it is about what parents need to know about the world of teens today. 

We are open to hosting novels and and short stories of this genre on our website if that is the best way to get them published. However, we encourage authors to arrange for posting on Ted Louis's website before coming to us for that reason.

At this point we direct people interested in pursing these stories to two  a websites maintained by author Ted Louis and the stories by another author, Cole Parker.  References to specific stories will be found on the web links that follow here.

About Ted Louis and other authors

About Cole Parker

This fiction includes rescue stories: stories about abused children being rescued by caring adults and nurtured to become very high functioning citizens.  It includes adolescents reaching out to other adolescents in extraordinary ways  -- sometimes two or more adolescents rescuing each other.  It includes stories about kids growing up in healthy ways while overcoming problems ranging from physical handicaps to abuse history to sexual orientation. 

In this literature there is an imbalance of emphasis on boys negotiating their boundaries where sexual orientation is concerned.  We welcome the fact that this topic is not neglected and that these stories give us insight into what these boys think, say, and do and give examples of boys approaching these issues in a healthy way.   As this genre matures, we hope to see more attention to girls and to boys who are less concerned with sexual identity.

There is a reason for this imbalance.  It appears to us that this kind of literature started out on websites that are exclusively for fiction for the GLBTQ Community.  The most popular website of this kind includes many other items on it are pornographic and many of those  involve inappropriate contact between adults and minor.  So we will not link that website here, although they must be given some credit for getting the fiction we favor some visibility inte beginning.  However, we think that at one time that was the only place to get these short stories and novels published and authors would create a "gay angle" to a story just so this website would  publish it. 

Much of this literature is highly critical of child protective services and fundamentalist religion. Some is critical of public education and other government services relating to children.  Some sets a very positive role model for how these service might be better handled.  Some of these stories call attention to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which has done an enormous amount of work addressing the issues this fiction raises, and doing so according to the highest standard.

One story we will be recommending is one we  believe every educator and school administrator who works with adolescents should be required to read.  We feel strongly enough about that will be adding reference to it to our guidelines in the near future. More about that later.

Initially we focus on this literature because it is out of the mainstream and we do not think our readers are likely to find it any other way.  (We welcome hearing from readers who have found this literature independently of us.)

Ted Louis

Cole Parker

Return to Recommended Reading

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Feedback is invited. We will publish feedback in good taste, consistent with our standards.  Email

Disclaimer: No  program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation.  When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree.  When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source.  We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance.  It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines.  Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.

Last updated July 16, 2009


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