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Ted Louis is the author of the "Joel Series" -- an original novel, three completed sequels and a fourth sequel with a new chapter appearing approximately every three weeks. It is about a family of four (or is it five or six?) boys adopted by a single father after horrifying abuse and neglect. In addition he is the creator and owner of the website www.tedlouis.com which publishes the Joel novels and stories by other authors. We recommend approaching the Joel novels in order although they do stand alone as complete novels.
Ted is making his website available to other authors, which we believe will eventually break the imbalance that favors stories with a "gay angle." While we are willing to put stories of this kind on this website, we prefer that authors use Ted's site in preference, so long as that is available. We will continue to direct readers there. The Joel stories do include a healthy example of a boy growing up gay, with parental guidance and support.
Ted features the work of another author, Gordon Klopfenstein, whose stories we have not yet read but plan to do so. We hear many positive comments on Klopfenstein and his work. Descriptions we have heard suggest that they fit well into our "Against All Odds" group of stories.
Ted is also promoting a novel in serial form by a new author, Felix Pollin, also known as "Felix P." The novel is After the Game. With twenty chapters now available, it appears that this is a welcome departure from the consistency of the "gay angle." We hope the novel when complete will show the same depth of insight into the world of adolescents as many of the others but where that insight is not built on a young person with an alternative sexual identity. Felix is a good writer and a prolific one. We have been seeing new chapters every three or four days. We are very much engaged with the story -- waiting for the next chapter to appear.
This website links numerous other short stories and novels, most of which we have read, enjoyed and found to be a source of insight. However we point to two links that go to stories that we have found very interesting, engaging, and informative, but including some images that are distracting at best and which cause us some concern. This first is Substitute Dad. While this story made the same positive impression as the others we have discussed for similar reasons, the level of physical expressions of affection between the main adult character and the main child character strain credibility for a relationship of proper boundaries, notwithstanding the author care to assert that proper boundaries were always kept. A similar problem arises in the Gary's Garden stories where at least one of the adult males seems to express too much appreciation for the physical beauty of some of the boys.
We think these strains on boundaries are especially unfortunate because Ted is particularly dedicated to protecting children from abuse. These portions of these stories undo the value of demonstrating how single men with an interest in children and in boys in particular can have a very positive role as single parents. Instead they tend to reinforce the unfortunate and inaccurate stereotype that men who reach out affectionately to children are at risk for molesting. That stereotype leads to many children getting less care and positive adult influence than they need.
But please don't lose our main message here. While we feel an obligation to raise a note of caution on literature that pushes what we think and others may think strains proper boundaries, we also believe that Ted Louis is doing more than anyone else we know of to get this genre of literature published not backing away from sexual issues although raising them in away that most would feel is appropriate -- and making a gay twist optional. We deeply appreciate his efforts.
Joel Book IV -- (no subtitle)
Joel Book V -- (no subtitle)
After the Game by Felix Pollin
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.
Sept 3, 2009
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