Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Fault

In Our Stars, is a popular teenage, or Young Adut, book.
What in the hell is a young adult?
I would consider anyone under about forty years to be a young adult. I certainly don't consider those who've lived less than two decades to fit that category.
But it's a profitable selling point, suggesting that the youthful reader of YA is somehow ahead of what? Childhood? I don't get it. 
In my day, she says with a penetrating stare and righteousnous waved like a banner, once you stopped reading children's books you read adults' books. From which you might gradually absorb adult dilemnas, adult issues, ethics, morals, history, choices.... that is, grow to understand the world you were growing in to.
Not that it worked particularly well for me in the short run, as a matter of fact. In the longer run, yes.yes and yes again.
Flowers in the Attic, The Hunger Games, and such are seductive books. Ripping yarns. Easy reads. Full of the evil of olders, so seductive to teens. "The Fault in Our Stars" is more problematic, to my mind, in that one of its premises is that the protagonist, a teen with terminal cancer, says that the worst part of her prognosis is her parents'grief.
The worst part? Her parents'grief?  Who do we have here Saint....? What unnatural human doesn't cling to life, hope for life, feel that they deserve life? Claw at life? Look for blame in her family?
That seems to me so fundamentally dishonest and deceiving. .Of course a young person with cancer has been cheated, of a life and of a future.Of course they rage. Of course they feel cheated, because they have been. People decades older than this teen rail against the invader. As they should.
How distorting for young readers, to feel quite assured that anyone they know with cancer is only concerned, not with their own sadness, but with the effect on people around them. What a lie.What a huge, distorting, wicked lie. 
You can only wonder why how some writer squares their conscience , and only wonder how much cash they stored up as a consequence.

The world keeps on geting dumbed down.


Elephant's Child said...

Even worse, I wonder whether the author believed the schmaltz she was trowelling on. A little like the people who say they welcome adversity, because it 'made them a better person'.
Truly retch worthy.

Frances said...

EC; I recently read a book by Hugh Mackay, whom I've often enjoyed. Until now. This book was about happiness, and the early pages were all suggesting that such was a poor goal, because "you learn so much more through unhappiness. Why would you look for happiness?"
I wanted to punch him on the snout.

R.H. said...

Adversity never made RH a better person. It's a destroyer. Mackay is a pop sociologist, wheeled on stage.

Frances said...

Yes, RH. Ups need to outweigh the downs.