Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rejection of learning: Andrew Clements, Things Not Seen. New York: Puffin, 2002

It quickly becomes clear that this is not an sf book. Although Bobby Phillips wakes up to find himself invisible, and this is eventually tracked to his electric blanket, partly through the knowledge of his brilliant physicist father, these are all merely devices. The book is actually about social invisibility and Bobby uses his physical invisibility to lose his own feelings of inferiority to his brilliant parents by befriending Alicia, who woke up blind one day after a knock on the head.

All this is well and tedious, but what rendered me irate is the way Bobby despises the knowledge of his father and remains in that state even as he grows in confidence. I don't mind him not being interested in physics. I mind that even when he proves rather good at research and analysis, he does not ever connect that to the acquisition of long term (rather than one time) information. This book is ostensibly about Bobby growing into maturity but it is a very specific definition of maturity, one which is oriented to self and intimate relationships. It's outward trajectory is to a new inner self, not out to the world. By *my* values, at the very moment Bobby and others are acknowledging Bobby's growing adulthood, I want to shake him, tell him to grow up, and stop dissing the smart kids.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Bobby is going threw a very hard time in this story,and i understand that.Plus the only reason he is "dissing" his smart father is because he fells as though his father is always trying to cover up reality with science.Bobby does grow up in this movie and undrestands a little more why his parents treat him a sertain way,it's because they love him.In this story Bobby grows as a person.

9:54 AM  

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