I’m sure by now most of you have read the Wall StreetJournal article by Meghan Cox Gurdon and have even taken part of the Twitter camping #YASaves, but for those of you who haven’t I highly recommend reading the article and voicing your opinion.
But for the short of it, this article condemns any dark YA fiction as damaging to young adults "If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is. There are of course exceptions, but a careless young reader – -or one who seeks out depravity — will find himself surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds." and even goes on to say "Alas, literary culture is not sympathetic to adults who object either to the words or storylines in young-adult books" and then goes on to suggest that "the book industry’s ever-more-appalling offerings for adolescent readers spring from a desperate desire to keep books relevant for the young."
Um… what? I’m sorry but the world is not always a happy amazing place full of sunshine and rainbows. That is not the real world, and it has never been the real world. As a society we are just coming to realize that a lot of these problems exist and need to be talked about, and we are not afraid to talk about them anymore. The article talks about the relevance of these subjects and even says that they can encourage young adults onto a self-destructive path. And that is simply not true. I am not going to bog you down with facts but millions upon millions of kids each year are dealing with eating disorders, self-harm, bullying, sexuality crisis, abuse and much more. Proving that these books are not only RELEVANT to the young adult reader but also NECESSARY, ignoring these issues will not make them go away and I believe that we need to talk about them. True it is not these are not easy subject to talk about but that is not a good reason not to talk about them. Books open our eyes; books give us ways to bring these things into the light and into open forums so they can be talked about.
Silence is never the answer.
YA saved my life, YA has taught me I am not alone, YA gave me a voice when I didn't have one, YA has helped me to better understand my fellow man, YA has shown me that everyone has a story, Writing YA has giving me the voice I never had in high school, YA help me figure out what depression was and how to help myself, YA has made me more compassionate, YA has taught me about problems I never knew existed, YA taught me that is ok to be myself, YA kept me sane, YA taught me that it was not my fault, YA gave me an escape when I needed to get away.
I am 25 years old, I still read YA because YA opened my world and changed my life.
What has YA taught you?