I got this fund raising letter from the American Life League (www.all.org) earlier this week. It in Judie Brown, President of the American Life League, talks about the book “It's Perfectly Normal” by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley, which is being promoted by Planned Parenthood for educating children on puberty and sex. She describes it as “filth.” “Why do ten-year-olds need to know about oral and anal sex? Or 'the proper way' to put on a condom?” “Can you see why girls think that it's 'perfectly normal' to go to Planned Parenthood for an abortion?” The letter also has quotes from the book and edited images.
Curious I decided to read the book for myself. First I read the reviews on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0763624330/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img) and saw that this book had some pretty strong opinions for it and against it. Then I checked my local library's catalog on line (owwl.org) and found that my local library (Williamson) had the book, which was surprising considering how strongly people felt about this book. It actually took me about ten minutes to find the book because I first looked in the adult section but then to my surprise found it in the juvenile section.
Wednesday and Thursday night I read it. The written content itself didn't bother me as much as the illustrations. The book shows repeated images of naked men and women, including one guy with an erect penis. It shows a boy and a girl masturbating and two couples having sex. Finally, there are two full pages of naked men and women including, and this one almost made me hurl, an old lady with her small, saggy boobs.
I wrote my own review for Amazon.com:
Let me start off by saying that I'm a 26 year old guy, single, with no kids. I hear about this book from a conservative watchdog group and to satisfy my curiosity I read it for myself. I was surprised to find it in my local library in the juvenile section considering how controversial this book is.
The content itself is not that much different than what I learned in 5th, 8th, and 11th grade. It describes the biological differences between men
and women, the changes that occur in puberty, and the process of birth. The section on abortion is politically balanced — which is surprising for a book promoted by Planned Parenthood. The author also reiterates thought out the book that sex can be dangerous and should only be done when you are mature enough for it. She says that the only safe and guaranteed way to avoid STD's and pregnancy is abstinence, which is what I learned in school.
However, the book has a lot of things that are inappropriate for 10 year olds. It gives way too much information on the use of contraception. It also graphically shows the naked male and female body, including an erect penis, repeatedly. It shows a boy and a girl masturbating. It also shows a couple having sex twice in the books. It condones homosexuality and makes no mention of marriage. I'd be concerned that kids mike think they are "mature enough" before they really are given this information and imagery.
Personally, I would not consider giving it to anyone under 13 or 14 to read, if even that. I would not want to have it in my personal library, and I might not even want my kids to read it at all. Other people might think that this material is appropriate for their children, and that's okay. That is their right as parents. In my mind the book doesn't necessarily deserve 1 star but it doesn't deserve more that two.