Friday, June 10, 2011

I continue to rant over that WSJ article...

Here's a follow-up by Publisher's Weekly in response to the Wall Street Journal write-up on the darkness of current YA books. Although I'm sure the author felt attacked by the massive response to her essay, which she clarifies in the article was an opinion piece and not meant as a news article, she doesn't seem to show compassion or interest in why so many were upset by what she wrote.

Meghan Cox Gurdon, the author of the article, mentioned to PW in the link above that her own kids read books by YA authors like Meg Cabot, who are well-known for contemporary-themed YA lit. Why not meantion this in the article? Gurdon then says her piece was not meant to be representative of all YA, but only on the disturbing trend in "dark" subjects. I personally think one sentence stating that would have cleared up some of the hurt people felt.

She is also baffled by criticizers who jumped to accusations of censorship and banning books. I don't think the leap is that far. She is lamenting the idea of books on dark topics, for example self-harm, and goes so far to suggest that it can lead to more teens trying out those behaviors because they are exposed to them in books. It's an old argument. Don't teach kids about safe sex because they'll want to have sex. Don't tell them about cutting and suicide because they'll want to cut or kill themselves. She gives absolutely no support for this argument, but I suppose if her piece is classified as a personal essay, even though printed for millions of readers in a high-profile publication, then she can freely not provide any data all she wants.

I still think this writer missed the mark. Maybe she meant to focus on one aspect of YA, but by the inclusion of her opening lines about a mom who couldn't find a single book for her adolescent daughter in all of Barnes & Noble's YA section, that kind of points to representation of the entire genre.

Here's a big fat WHATEVER to that WSJ piece. I could hope the potential part 2 might have some saving grace, but after reading Gurdon's response in this PW article, I'm not thinking it will show YA in any better light. I think what Gurdon really missed here, is opinions can hurt. I would hate for anyone to assume the YA genre is ONLY full of depressing, controversial books, when the reality is far from it.


  1. Another old adage, if you restrict or hide something then it will only make kids want it more. IN this case, it is true (at least in my experience with my own kids).

    Thanks again for touching on this subject - this just chaps my hide! ;-)

  2. YEAH, I CAN COMMENT NOW. thankyou for changing it.

  3. I totally agree. The whole article was terribly biased.

  4. I didn't read the article, but from your post about it, it probably is a good thing. It irks me when a writer presents something as fact, which from your post seems like what that author has done, and then responds to criticism with the excuse, "It is my opinion..."

    New follower :) Looking forward to reading more posts!


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