writing · Youth/Young Adult

The Slow Death of Escapism Literature?

mirror
Mirror-sky from snapwiresnaps.tumblr.com

Do you hear that?

Do you hear it?

The faucet is slowly turning off and the fast gush of teen supernatural fiction is(could be?) fizzling out.

Ginia Bellafante wrote a thought provoking, interesting post on the New York Times, congratulating youth literature for returning to grit and giving up the glam of vamps and wolves and zombies that have taken up e-shelves and bookshelves in the last decade.

Like I usually do, I scroll the comments and see other people’s opinions. To be honest, I think more people are upset because many of the “gritty” books coming out deal with the current political and racial tension we can feel in the air.

The commenters, bless their hearts, really did not respond to the change of literature, going back to the era of the “real”, they mainly focused on quivering in their boots because now they have writers who are not interested in fake monsters but the real evil in the world teens and adults must face.

Gritty books are simply mirrors of the times. The writer goes on to mention Judy Blume’s classic, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret as a timeless classic about a girl who wonders about God and goes through puberty, jealousy and other events fresh to teens.

Do we really need ghosts for that one? Or vamps? Or any other supernatural element?

No.

I think what Bellafante aimed for in this report, is to have us compare our childhoods with the literature we read then, versus what children read and experience now. The novels have gotten grittier these days.

Let’s play Devil’s Advocate now.

I like gritty tales, but I like supernatural books too. Anything fantasy and speculative, I enjoy.

Is it possible that speculative fiction can explore the beauty and dirt of growing older too?

In the world of Harry Potter(I never read the books, just watched the movie-sorry!), Harry Potter grows up and experiences first love, crappy “parents”, all kinds of evil, but it is amidst the backdrop of sorcery.

Same with Hunger Games and Divergent(I read Divergent). Those are Dystopic novels that are not really fantasy but more speculative- speculating on what could happen. To me that seems pretty plausible, given the current state of true hungry people out here having to fight to live.

All I am saying is, I have no problem with real stories for real teens. We can have escapism at any time, but I long for the mirror too.

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