Tuesday Hangovers

4 thoughts on “Tuesday Hangovers”

  1. That Metcalf essay is right on the money about so many things. The problem with his ideas about YA has to do with what I think a lot of confusion over YA books may be. I think the kind of book that Metcalf is actually talking about (and confusing with YA fiction) is the coming of age novel. I really do think that a YA novel and a Coming of Age novel are two different (though related) birds. The difference, I think (and perhaps the only difference, but one that opens up a lot of changes on other levels) is the perspective. Notice that all of the books he lists in A Separate Peace’s category of book are recounted by narrators many years after the events that take place around their teenage self. I think that the typical YA novel’s events take place without that distance of years between the narrator and the teenager they were. This might seem like a slight thing, but I think its effects are felt throughout a text in way that is enough to make a YA novel versus a Coming of Age novel feel different from one another.
    Of course teenagers and adults alike read both, and enjoy both, but I think that adult perspective on one’s childhood or adolescence is a key difference. At least for me. And so when I read his comparison of this novel (and the others in that list) to the YA novel, I don’t see a devolution, as he does, because I feel they are parallel tracks, but there is a dividing line between them.
    Thanks for the link. I haven’t read anything about A Separate Peace in so long, and it’s nice to see someone finally talking about the class and sexuality issues in it (even if its author might not have noticed them himself). 🙂

  2. Hey, thanks for the shout out. The whole notion of belonging as it relates to blockbusterdom merits more thought, IMO. My post is just some preliminary messing about. I’ll figure it out eventually.

  3. I think you’re right on the money–and it is a really fascinating essay, despite that little weirdness. I wonder how many kids are still reading that book.

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