There has been a lot going on around the internet these days regarding the story in the Wall St. Journal written my Meghan Cox Gurdon about YA being too dark and scary for teens and how we should be writing fluff instead. If this were a fluffy world we lived in, I might be down with that. But, it’s not. It’s dark, scary, and uncertain…even for adults.
I usually don’t like talking about stories like this because their only purpose is to stir up controversy. In this case, to bring a pathetic, dying newspaper back to life.
I read this rebuttal by Sherman Alexie and decided to delete my hotheaded response on my blog. Why? Because Mr. Alexie handled it. My favorite lines…
When some cultural critics fret about the “ever-more-appalling” YA books, they aren’t trying to protect African-American teens forced to walk through metal detectors on their way into school. Or Mexican-American teens enduring the culturally schizophrenic life of being American citizens and the children of illegal immigrants. Or Native American teens growing up on Third World reservations. Or poor white kids trying to survive the meth-hazed trailer parks. They aren’t trying to protect the poor from poverty. Or victims from rapists.
- No, they are simply trying to protect their privileged notions of what literature is and should be. They are trying to protect privileged children. Or the seemingly privileged.
So true. I don’t think I could’ve put it more eloquently. In fact, I was ready to go off on a tirade, but I’m glad that I waited for someone with a much more level head than me to respond. After all, I was one of those kids who went to a school on the wrong side of town and would’ve given my right arm for a metal detector. Unfortunately, nobody cared or rather, they cared more about the privileged kids and their feelings about the forced busing then the rest of us poor cretins who obviously didn’t matter.
And the line that made me smile…
I read books about monsters and monstrous things, often written with monstrous language, because they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life.
I am so getting a copy of this guy’s book. 🙂 But, I should be thankful to the WSJ for one thing. They’ve made me more determined than ever to purchase a copy of Jackie Morse Kessler’s Horsemen of the Apocalypse series, too. 😈