YA vs Adult
When I was a kid, I read books independent of my English teacher’s assignments. Novels like Tom Jones, The Three Musketeers, and Bambi.
None of these is exactly youth oriented. Yeah, you look at Bambi and may disagree but try reading it. Then you’ll see. And btw, Tom Jones is hilarious.
By today’s standards, these books are incomprehensible to kids. Pick up a modern YA, judge the dialogue and literary writing for yourself, and tell me this isn’t so.
So what’s happened? Was I especially gifted? *insert belly laugh here* Or are today's young people unable to digest weightier tomes like The Call of the Wild, White Fang, or Burning Daylight by Jack London?
Too much Graphic Novels? Sound bites in book form?
Or do we expect too little from them?
Whatever the reason, it perplexes me when I see ‘unrealistic narrative’ in a critique of a YA. Or, damn an author because their novel doesn’t follow an unwritten, incomprehensible rule that shifts in the wind according to the moral whims of the critic.
Kids have brains. Some folks don’t give them enough credit for what they can absorb. The youth’s literary base should be as broad as the sky and never, ever slotted in a hole just because of their age.
(One caveat: I am speaking literary here. I do believe graphic sex acts and gore should be in the adult section.)
Expect the universe, encourage their intelligence, and assume they can do anything. Don’t limit them to slang and jargon, pictures and a format in their reading menu. Bring out Pride and Prejudice, Plato’s Republic, and Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Mars Freedman.
Let them breathe. Let them expand.