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Young Adult Fiction: Is censorship an answer to dark themes?

June 6, 2011

As per usual, Linda Holmes of Monkey See blog fame hits it out of the park with her eloquent retort to Wall Street Journal’s claim that young adult literature is too dark.  I particularly liked this paragraph, mainly due how I felt very similarly about the mentioned books (especially in the comparison between Hunger Games and Lord):

Even the things we read for school were things like Animal Farm and Lord Of The Flies and even that horrible thing in Johnny Tremain about being burned by molten metal OW OW OW. If we’re speaking thematically, The Hunger Games has nothing on Lord Of The Flies.

While I enjoyed Hunger Games (or at least books one and two, I was not as sold on the last one, although I overall liked the trilogy), I abhorred Lord of the Flies.

Oh and this paragraph too, because I think her interest in Stephen King comes from a similar place as my interest in apocalypse based books.  When you strip most of society away you get some incredible stories of hope/despair/etc.

I was always going to read Stephen King, because I was interested in the way he talked about hope and despair, about finding salvation in other people, and about things like eating your own foot that were just plain freaking crazypants cool. Not reading scary, weird, dark, or dirty books wouldn’t have made me a different kid. It certainly wouldn’t have made me a happier kid.

It might have made me a kid who read less, though.

And of course the librarian in me loves that she throws a good dig at the idea of book banning as “guiding young people’s reading. Go read it for yourself!

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