Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Morning Blahg: YA Too Dark?

Many of you have probably already seen the Wall Street Journal article about the darkness in YA literature.  I hate to give this article any more attention, but the article irked me royal.  The writer of the article talks about how all the books are dark and gruesome, full of violence, abuse, self mutilation, profanity, addiction, yadda yadda yadda.

You know what I was reading when I was thirteen?  Stephen KingFirestarter, Dead Zone, The Stand, Cujo.  Full of foul language and sex and violence.  Was this my only option?  No, but it's what I liked reading.

Teens are reading.  Isn't that a good thing?  These days, teens are reading topics that interest them, topics they can relate to, topics that deal with the problems they deal with.  The author mentions a few books that she says, "don't end well."  Life is not all butterflies and rainbows.  Teens these days face some really horrific realities-homophobia, depression, violence, suicide.  Most of these books they're reading do offer hope in the end.  It's not all gloom and doom.  And many teens feel these books help them deal.  If you don't believe me, check out Twitter #yasaves. 

And yes, the fantasy books are full of the same stuff the realistic books are: violence, death, profanity.  Again, this is not anything they're not exposed to in their every day life, but also offers a form of escape into a world other than they're own.

I wonder if the adults that have a problem with YA let their kids play violent video games, or watch movies or TV shows full of sex and violence. Kids are exposed to this kind of stuff every day, whether through media or reality.  Why should we shield them from their own actualities?

I've spoken my peace.
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John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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