On YA Lit: Should Adults Be Embarrassed to Read It?

There’s apparently been a bit of a stir lately over this article on Slate condemning adult consumers of Young Adult Literature.  To condense, the author over there, one Ruth Graham, feels (rather strongly) that YA lit is strictly for YAs and if you’re not a YA then you shouldn’t be reading YA lit.

Okay, that’s perhaps an intentional oversimplification, but the argument is simple.  As an author, you must know your audience.  (An interesting comment for me to make given my schizophrenia lately over exactly who my audience for AI might be.)  And an author writing for young adults presumably makes different choices in their stories than an author writing for adults, whether it’s simplifying plots and making characters’ choices more transparent, using saucier or more elevated language, or even the entire subject matter of the story.  So the author is writing for a specific group of people (though that group might itself be incredibly diverse).

Let’s just take that on its face.  Say you’re an accomplished author, and you write your book about robot-fighting tree-farmers in post-carbon-emissions formerly-known-as-America.  (Don’t steal that, it’s MINE.)  But you write it specifically from the point of view of, and full of the lingo of, and bulging with references to, let’s say, south Floridian retirees.  Why would you make such a choice?  This is the strange and wonderful land of Hypothetica, just keep your hands and feet inside the chopper.Read More »