No Go for Iraq War Play and Novel — “agents love it” but…

 By Peggy Tibbetts

The problem is, I can’t get an agent to take it on. One agent loved the story but didn’t think he could find a publisher for it. Another agent said she was riveted and couldn’t put it down but she declined. Agent after agent praises it, then passes. An editor compared it to Syriana, then said he was looking for a story about a female soldier but not necessarily about the war.

Oh, God forbid we should talk about the war with the kids.

I never understood his Syriana reference. I wrote the novel before the movie came out. I saw the movie and there’s no female soldier character in it. He also said it was complex so maybe that’s what he meant. So, yeah, war is like that. Complex. As in, not all black and white.

Discouraging? Yup. But also disturbing. So I’ve been wondering lately. Is it possible the Iraq War is taboo for teens?

Apparently it’s perfectly ok to recruit teens into military service to fight the war but it’s not ok for them to understand and explore their feelings about the war. Or in the case of my novel, to read about the war. For me, the situation in Connecticut really points to that.

Are educators and the media (publishers) shielding young people from the realities of this war? I think so. In the case of PFC Liberty Stryker, it isn’t about whether or not it’s a good story. It is. It’s that publishers aren’t publishing stories about the Iraq War for teens.

Yet they are of enlistment age and many have parents serving in this war, so why not? I don’t understand.

Now in Connecticut, the high school principal doesn’t want students performing their interpretation of the war through (a mostly female cast!) soldiers’ eyes.

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