Tuesday, November 25, 2014

YA Philosopher Thinks About Books

Sometimes it’s the really bad books that make us think. As I was writing a goodreads review it started to take on a life of it’s own. Not wanting to bore everyone there I thought I’d move it over here and bore you lovely people. Beware, long rambling post ahead!

I’m starting to see an interesting dialogue stream running through YA. A girl (or boy) discovers on their 16/17/18 birthdays that they are something unique. They are almost completely unprepared for this destiny but cannot avoid it. It typically catapults them into a cause they were unaware of previously and is vitally important to the future of humanity. Also they will cease to age, remaining forever young and at their prime.

Being really philosophical today I've been wondering about this. I'm not sure, but I don't remember this dialogue in YA when I read it a decade ago. What about this appeals so strongly to teens and to adults? Does it tap into Millennials fear that we are not as special as our parents told us that we would be? Having taken from ourselves the destiny of being part of the generational wheel (we typically spend our twenties focusing on our careers and other aspects of our lives) are we all seeking something that would give us the same sense of responsibility? In a special mission are we hoping for some way to avoid the mundane portions of life that all of us eventually fall into regardless of our choices and remain forever young, blazing and triumphant?

It doesn’t hurt that our culture has a fear of aging that has morphed into a billion dollar business. The adults that read it aren’t immune- they too wish for eternal youth, especially if eternal youth looked like Lupita Ny’onga! When runway models are all teens we fear that as soon as the hips spread and the first wrinkles show our beauty will behind us. As women we are often judged by our looks and those are the first things to fade.

It could also be that we're tapping into our own inherent belief that something is out there. We have these lives- the power of choice- and yet are unsure what to do with them. I think a part of us hopes that there really is something worth sacrificing it for. We all want a belief to dedicate ourselves to. Without clear directions we find a fantasy with a very specific set of stakes and the ultimate victory at the end. How can these written words not be appealing?

Honestly, I don’t know why we read what we do, or what makes a trend. But it’s interesting to think about it. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. We all want to think we're special snowflakes :) As for growing old ... well, in our society we place a lot of importance on beauty and youth, so I guess it kind of makes sense. (In a twisted way...)