Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's Okay If You Want to Read YA Fiction, And It's Okay If I Don't

A thoughtful, passionate young lady named Jeyn Roberts recently wrote an article defending Young Adult fiction. I see these cropping up everywhere. You'd think that YA fiction was being persecuted like first century Christians, yet it's probably the #1 selling genre.

Here's the link to her blog post. I suggest you read it, maybe leave her a comment if you feel so inclined. Of course, right off the bat I wasn't crazy about her blog post title, because I don't like anyone telling me what I NEED to do. I'm an adult, and apart from taxes and a few other things, I'll decide what I need.

She seems to make no distinction between YA and children's books, yet then she seems to be arguing that YA books are no different than adult books, and doesn't talk about children's books at all. She says many, many things, defending the things she loves from every angle she can think of. One claim she makes is that people grow up too fast. I wonder how many books she reads by or about people over seventy years old.

Here's the comment I left her.

"There's a difference between being childlike and being childish. There's also a difference between childhood and adolescence. They can't be treated in the same way. And, I don't think people in our culture grow up too fast, I don't think many grow up at all, and emotional immaturity is a huge problem. But perhaps they do lose their childlike sense of wonder, and that's a problem too.
I don't read much YA fiction, partly because it is supposedly told from the viewpoint of a teenager, which doesn't interest me much anymore. Ironically, most is not really from a teenager's viewpoint, but an adult's version of a teenager's viewpoint, which interests me even less. So, I'm not sure why it's so incredibly important for everyone to read it (Though I have, and liked some, especially Phillip Pullman's work, and some other fantasy. But reading about someone in highschool is like a bad dream come true. That's the last place I want to return to.). The best fiction of any genre transcends that genre; and the worst of any genre is crap, regardless of the genre.
I suppose this constant defense of YA books lately is because people in the literary establishment have less respect for them, I'm not sure. It's probably the best-selling fiction genre, so I don't know what the issue is. If people want to read YA fiction books, that's fine. There's no need to defend that. But I think that if someone does not want to read YA books, that should be okay too and they shouldn't be harangued for it."