Graphic: Poor kids in Guthrie have to read this weird dude’s short stories…
2:32 PM EST on February 18, 2013
The guy pictured above is Nick Lyon. He's an Oklahoma teacher, writer and more than likely charter member of Jedi OKC. One of his self-published books, a collection of short stories called "It'll All Work Out," is generating some alleged "outrage" in Guthrie.
From the always accurate and eager to hype KFOR news team:
There is outrage in Guthrie over a book assigned to junior high students.
Some parents said the story lines include child molestation, rape, murder and torture.
“It’s sickening; it literally made me sick to my stomach when I read it,” Charlotte Purviance said.
She is disgusted with a book she said 8th graders at Guthrie Junior High were assigned to read.
Her grandson is one of the students.
“A lot of the characters in the book are women who are raped, tortured and killed,” Purviance said.
The book titled “It’ll All Work Out” is a collection of short stories.
One excerpt describes a woman suspended in the air, bound by piercing wires causing her body to drip puddles of blood.
It goes on to talk about a snake and worms crawling around her body then entering her vagina.
Yeah, that's some sick and disgusting stuff. In fact, it's so sick and disgusting that I fully expect it to be turned into an episode of Law and Order: SVU...which you can coincidentally watch each Wednesday on Oklahoma's NewsChannel 4 at 8:00pm.
Anyway, some angry old lady is upset that her grandson was forced to read the book. She's convinced the story will ruin her grandson's eternal innocence:
This grandma said the literary content is not only too graphic for an 8th grader but also misogynistic.
“Young women who read this book, are they going to take it that it’s natural behavior that it’s acceptable to do to them,” she said.
She said the book also contains stories of child molestation and murder without recourse.
Purviance said this should not be part of any junior high curriculum because the flip of every page wipes away her grandson’s innocence.
So far he’s turned in two books reports.
“It promotes abuse, period,” She said. “There’s no question in my mind what it would do to a young person that’s very impressionable at that age,” Purviance said.
The family said if they would have given their children a book like this to read they would be facing criminal charges but since it was given by a teacher, officials don’t seem to mind.
We’re told the author of that book is the teacher who assigned it to his class.
We’re still working to confirm that.
We reached out to the author for more insight and look forward to hearing his response.
I agree with this concerned grandmother. It's a common fact that 8th graders don't have the mental capacity to separate fiction from reality. How else can we explain the epidemic of runaway girls fleeing for Washington to marry vampires, young boys dropping out of high school in order to attend Hogwarts, or Gangnam style becoming a thing? Hell, I still haven't recovered from reading The Count of Monte Cristo. Revenge is a bitch, folks.
Anyway, two thoughts:
1. I know KFOR is shitty local news station and eager to publish any story that has to do with controversial content related to sex, but did anyone on their staff actually take time to read the book? It appears to me they're just going off the word of one nutty grandmother and quoting nothing but controversial passages out of context. You can make anything look bad by doing that. There's sex (1984), violence (Of Mice and Men) and mature subject matter (The Catcher in the Rye) in almost all of the books kids are assigned to read in middle school or high school. If you took their controversial passages out of context, you could make them look bad, too.
2. That being said, is this guy really including his own fiction as part of his class' curriculum? That's weird and desperate. Middle school kids should be reading short stories from great American authors like Hemmingway, Updike or Carver, not the self-published work of fledgling teachers from Guthrie. The guy is even wearing a Barons t-shirt in his photo. That alone should disqualify you from writing a lesson plan or teaching a class.
Although I didn't read anything from his book (unlike KFOR, I'll admit that), I did see a short-short story on his Facebook page. Here's a snippet:
Consider for a moment the possibility that you were right, that you were right all along. Consider how different life would be if I’d listened. Just once. Just that last time.
When I returned home from work that day, he was gone. I don’t mean just him, but all of his things. The closet was empty of his shirts and his smell. The dresser was gone. Along with the bed. We’d decided that those could be his.
I wandered through the house, checking little things. Looking to make sure he grabbed that book that he never read but insisted on keeping by the toilet. He said something about the toilet being the perfect place for a man to read. It, too, was gone.
It seemed he remembered everything.
I remember feeling relieved.
Wow, that intro just sucks me in and makes me never want to read fiction ever again. I've seen better writing in a Mad Lib. He does a great job of demonstrating how to tell and not show.
Okay, I know I'm being tough. I just thought it would be fun to pull a KFOR and draw a negative conclusion on this guy's work based upon a few paragraphs of writing. KFOR should totally hire me as their news director. I'll fit right in and do a bang up job.
Anyway, if you want to read Nick Lyons book of short stories, you can buy it here. It's pretty cheap. And outside of the angry grandma from Guthrie, the book has received positive reviews. In fact, some of the reviews refute KFOR's claims. Could KFOR possibly have the story wrong? That would be as shocking as snakes and worms crawling into some ladies vagina.