So, the Daily Mail in the UK published an article that made a lot of people mad, including me. The article condemned young adult books that deal with hard topics like sickness and death, calling these books “sick-lit.” It ripped on one of my favorite books, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, in such a way that made me question if the author of the article had actually read it.
How’s this for an infuriating sentence: “While the Twilight series and its imitators are clearly fantasy, these books don’t spare any detail of the harsh realities of terminal illness, depression and death.”
Time the hell out.
It’s better for kids to read books like Twilight (a book considered poorly written by many creative thinkers … featuring an obsessive, co-dependent romance with a vampire) than to read books like The Fault in Our Stars, which makes readers of all ages think deeply? I can hardly process that quote. It’s better for kids to live in a fantasy land than to learn to think about real-life hard situations?
It boggles my mind. Honestly.
I’m not a parent. Maybe I’d feel differently if I was a parent.
I want kids and teenagers to read great books, great writing. I want them to be forced to think critically and examine their beliefs.
But maybe that’s looking through rose-colored glasses?
I’ve read a lot of YA books in the last year. A lot of them had sex scenes or sexually-charged scenes. Would I censor these books from kids? No. From my kids? … no. I don’t think so. But what do I know? Everything could change if I were a parent, I know that.
I think Harry Potter is one of the most brilliant series for teens in existence. I don’t think I’d stop my kids from reading it … but I do think I’d talk to them about magic and witchcraft and good vs. evil. If my kids read The Fault in Our Stars, I’d talk to them about sex and terminal illness and death and the meaning of life. If my kids read Jellicoe Road, I’d talk to them about drugs and abandonment and romance.
But would I? It’s easy to say that when I’m 30 and childless.
I’d love to hear thoughts on both sides of this debate– please comment!