Friday, June 6, 2014

YA reader -- and proud!

The big news in the world of books right now is that Slate ran an article criticizing adults for reading YA.  Here is a nice article in response, explaining why we shouldn't be shaming anyone for reading what they enjoy.

I've been dealing with something similar from the family I nanny for.


The mother thinks her 12-year-old daughter reads too many teen books, and is trying to prohibit her from reading them over the summer, thinking that will make her read classics instead.  The girl has already told me that she will continue reading her teen books anyway, and I side with her on this one.  I don't think she should be made to feel like there is anything wrong with what she chooses to read.  I don't disagree with encouraging her to read more classics, but can't we do that without trying to shame her for what she enjoys reading most?

I also have to point out the ludicrousness of trying to tell her daughter she can't read something.  She wasn't supposed to read the Twilight series, either, but when I was picking her up from school one day I saw the books in her locker.  We had a talk about why some people are opposed to the books, and what constitutes a healthy romantic relationship, but I saw no reason to shame her for wanting to read them -- or, for that matter, to tell her mother.

It annoys me that people think just because something is marketed to teens, there must be something wrong with it.  In reality children's and YA books tend to tackle deeper subjects than adult novels, and they do it with fewer words.  That deserves praise, not shaming.

It doesn't help that the "Against YA" article is full of untruths and half-truths.  Sure, YA often ties things up in neat little bows at the end, but so do the majority of books across all genres.  So do most of the classics, which I would presume the author of the article advocates reading.  And books idealizing things?  Oh no, say it isn't so!

As a friend of mine pointed out, she is missing the fact that reading is escapism.  People read because they want to be drawn into another world.  While friction and challenges are part of what drive the plot forward, when people put down a book for the last time, they want to feel like it was worth it to spend all those hours with the characters and story.

When I see a rant like this, that uses completely faulty logic to prove the author's point, it's clear that someone is making things up in order to justify their own personal sense of superiority.

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