Ways In Which Ruth Graham’s Article Could Have Affected Me, But Didn’t

Posted: June 6, 2014 in Braak
Tags: , ,

In response to Ruth Graham’s article at Slate, “Against YA“, but REALLY in response to the sudden eruption of hand-wringing defenses of why it’s okay to read Young Adult books.

1.  I am in a bookstore and I see a book in the Young Adult section that I think about buying. Another customer looks at me askance, as though I am childish for looking at a Young Adult Book.  “Fuck that guy,” I think to myself, “this looks interesting.”  I buy the book anyway.

2.  I am reading a Young Adult Book on the train.  Someone sits down across from me  They have got a face like they think I should be embarrassed by my reading material.  For a second I am worried.  “Oh wait, I just remembered,” I think to myself, “Fuck that guy.”  I continue reading my book

3.  I am on a date.  I think about mentioning a Young Adult book that I liked to the girl I am with, but I worry she’ll think I am childish for liking a Young Adult book.  “Eh, whatever,” I say to myself, and ask her if she read the book.  “No,” she says.  The date proceeds apace.

4.  I become an astronaut and go to the moon.  When I get back to earth, the media finds out I like some Young Adult novel.  “Doesn’t this mean you are immature?”  They ask.  “Fuck you,” I reply.  “I am an astronaut.”

5.  I am at a dinner party and I mention a book I like that is a Young Adult book.  “Didn’t Ruth Graham write an article,” one of the other dinner party guests says, “saying adults should be ashamed to read that kind of book?”  “Go fuck yourself,” I say, “I liked it.”  I am thrown out of the dinner party for this reason, instead of being thrown out of the dinner party for telling some other, different guest to go fuck themselves, which I was pretty likely to do anyway.

6.  I meet Ruth Graham on the street.  I am carrying a Young Adult book.  “Reading that kind of book means you are childish and immature,” she tells me.  “I actually don’t care what you think about anything,” I tell her.  The next day, I have completely forgotten the incident.

BONUS:  Ways in Which Ruth Graham’s Article About Young Adult Novels Could Have Affected Me, and Did

1.  Ruth Graham wrote an article on Slate about some dumb bullshit.  People feel obligated to justify their tastes in things, and write a million earnest responses to it.  I am reminded that Slate is a thing that exists

  1. Jeff Holland says:

    Unrelated question: How the hell have they not fixed that goddamn eyesore of a layout yet?

  2. braak says:

    They are committed to their strategy of being a giant pile of garbage.

  3. Someone should let Richard Adams, Peter S. Beagle, Robert Heinlein, Graham Joyce, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Philip Pullman know.

    And, um, how exactly do we retcon this? Does the Nobel Committee retract their awards to William Golding, Gunter Grass, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Elie Wiesel now or what?

  4. ronanwills says:

    Ugh, that article.

    What annoys me most about her complaints and similar ones voiced by other people over the years is many of her criticisms of YA novels (which are warranted, don’t get me wrong) apply just as often to adult novels, particularly with genre fiction. A good example is Patrick Rothfuss’ two-book oeuvre, which is so steeped in exactly the sort of juvenile wish-fulfillment fantasies as much of YA that it’s often described as YA, even though it’s not marketed as such.

  5. braak says:

    Right? The only defining characteristic of Young Adult novels is that someone wrote “Young Adult” on them, and put them in the Young Adult section of the bookstore. They are in no other way categorically alike, or categorically any different from any other kind of book.

  6. Darin Harbaugh says:

    I have been reading “Charolette’s Web” on the bus, off and on, for a few years now. I read it on the bus because that book frightens me, and I do not want to read it when I am alone.

    When I was a little kid, I tried to watch a cartoon version of CW. All I remember is being taken away from the tv and standing in the bathroom, screaming and screaming.

    That book, which is not even YA, but like early reader, fills me with terror. I am only like 25 pages in, that damn pig is just frolicking, and I keep stopping and then starting over again.

    I have no idea what happens. I think there is a spider involved, hence the web. I think the Nazis banned the book. There is a girl on the cover. I think the author was a picky grammarian. All I know that it is a tome of sheer horror.

    If people look askance at me, Fuck them. I am working out my issues and facing my fears, in public. And that takes more guts than reading Johnathan Franzen or Joyce Carol Oates.

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