If I had a teen daughter, I’d give her Lauren Myracle’s Shine over violent video games and movies—or, you know, the nightly news—any day of the week. Not to mention there are plenty of light and fluffy YA books out there—even many of Lauren Myracle’s other books!
Since our conversation, Myracle and Gurdon have appeared together on NPR's Talk of the Nation, where Myracle offered an apology for calling the WSJ piece "idiocy."
Did you listen to the interview on NPR? (I had to have a "driveway moment" when it came on.)
Do you agree with what Myracle said during our conversation—that it's better to make an impact and get people talking about things that make them uncomfortable than to be "vanilla pudding"?
By now, most of you probably know that Meghan Cox Gurdon sparked a controversy in the Wall Street Journal* by writing about the "explicit abuse, violence and depravity" present in today's YA literature.
The gist of the piece is that violent and disturbing behaviors in teen novels have the potential to "help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures."
The most-quoted line from the essay concerns the B-word. Gurdon writes: "In the book trade, this is known as 'banning.' In the parenting trade, however, we call this 'judgment' or 'taste.'"
Surprise, surprise: YA authors and fans of YA fiction did not like this essay one bit—and responded en masse via the Twitter hashtag #YAsaves. (As for me, I think the thesis of the essay is just . . . eye-roll inducing. If I had a teen daughter, I'd give her Lauren Myracle's Shine over violent video games and movies—or, you know, the nightly news—any day of the week. Not to mention there are plenty of light and fluffy YA books out there—even many of Lauren Myracle's other books! If teens want to read about romance, adventure, fantasy or any other topic, a good librarian or bookseller can help point them toward lots of great books that don't involve blood, guts or self-mutilation.)
Besides following the Twitter hashtag, I've been keeping notes on a few of the most thoughtful and interesting responses to Gurdon's essay, for your reading pleasure:
Let us know in the comments.
*The cynical side of me thinks she also made her editor verrry happy with this click-baiting piece of writing. Not since Amy Chua's "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" have I seen so much commentary and outrage concerning an article about a book!