I recently came across an article in Slate telling adults that they should feel embarrassed about reading young adult books.
The first thing that jumped out to me was “Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this.” Well yes, the writer clearly is a joyless old snob, but that isn’t the point. I am so sick of people (society) trying to tell us what we can and can’t do. And reading, which is something that is a huge and extremely important part of my life, is something that brings me joy, so I don’t understand the need for people to go around saying what I should and shouldn’t be embarrassed to read… or write for that matter.
As someone who considers Young Adult my favorite genre of book, I am highly offended by this. It is one thing if you don’t like the genre, and if you feel like you are far too sophisticated to read about the human condition at any age, but you do not get to shame me for reading something that I like.
The funniest part about this whole article, is the fact that the writer (Ruth Graham) compares two novels. ONLY TWO NOVELS. You can’t judge a genre based on two books, that might I add are completely unrelated to one another.
The first book she brings up is The Fault in Our Stars, which is a love story about two kids battling cancer. Graham weighed in on the book “I’m a reader who did not weep, contra every article ever written about the book, when I read The Fault in Our Stars. I thought, Hmm, that’s a nicely written book for 13-year-olds. If I’m being honest, it also left me saying “Oh, brother” out loud more than once. Does this make me heartless?”
Yes, it makes you heartless, but that is not the point here. She then goes on to discuss a little dystopian novel called Divergent set in post-apocalyptic Chicago. And she refers to the series as “transparently trashy.”
YOU CAN’T COMPARE THOSE TWO NOVELS. You can’t read two completely unrelated novels and call yourself a genre expert and wander around shaming people for liking something.
I am a 25-year-old who has read through the Harry Potter series all the way through at least three times since I was 11 years old. I stood in line at midnight for book releases and movie releases. I have a trip planned this year to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. I have read The Fault in Our Stars three times, and have already seen the movie twice in theaters. I plan to get a Perks of Being a Wallflower quote tattooed on me. Are you telling me that these are things to be ashamed of? I have one finger that could sum up my answer to this, and I would love to direct it at Ruth Graham.
If you don’t like something, you don’t have to read it. But stop shaming people for loving something. I have a quote for you, Ruth Graham. It’s by my favorite author.
“Because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.” – John Green