June 06, 2011

YA Saves. That's All There Is To It.

Yep, more controversy in the YA writing world! As if you needed more. (Come on. You know you love it. NOT.)

The tagline to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Meghan Cox Gurdon reads: "Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?" Rife! Depravity! That's right, we're a cesspool over here, just itching to inflict our negative moral values on the innocent, sponge-like brains of your children.

I couldn't bear to finish reading the article myself, but I got an excellent overview from Liz B. over at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy. Liz says: "Some kids in terrible circumstances read about kids in terrible circumstances and find comfort and hope, even in the bleakest book; others live it, so don’t want to read it. Some read for windows; some, for mirrors."

Cheryl Rainfield, whose book SCARS was named in the WSJ article, had this to say: "I think what helps us bring good into the world, and stop the things that hurt people so much, is to talk about the darkness, bring it out into the open, and encourage healing, compassion, and love. Not by hiding it."

On the L.A. Review of Books blog, Cecil Castellucci said: "Gurdon’s article in the WSJ seems to imply that these kinds of dark books should be cleared off the shelf and that good clean books with less objectionable content should be there instead. And that the publishing industry, in the name of sales, pushes these kinds of books to pervier and pervier extremes and then cries censorship if called on it." She has a lot of other great stuff to say on the topic, too.

And these are far from the only voices speaking out. Check out the Twitter hashtag #YAsaves for more links and comments.


David T. Macknet said...

Whoops - better take the Bible off of your kids' reading list, too. After all, it's "rife" with murder, incest, polygamy, adultery ... and, hey, one of those adulterers was David (remember Bathsheba?) who was "a man after God's own heart."

Oh, wait. That would be extending logic into an idiotic argument, wouldn't it? Couldn't have that.

Sarah Stevenson said...

If you're worried about a teeny little thing like logic, I'd suggest not reading the article. :)

Seriously. It made me want to go "but-but-but...." about every two sentences. Lots of the arguments she put forward made no sense to me.

Mezzowriter said...

Another fabulous response to the same article from Hallie at Undusty New Books...


The article made me want to go read several books already sitting on my shelf. Hmmm. What does that say about me? Or perhaps more precisely, my mother's parenting? *HOOT*