Women and YA Fiction - WTH?

What is the deal with grown adult women reading and becoming obsessed with Young Adult fiction?

First it was Harry Potter. Then Twilight. Now Hunger Games. Ladies, did you know that there are entire branches of literature that are not geared toward teenagers?

I could forgive you, I really could, if these books had any redeeming qualities. But Twilight sucked. The writing was laughably bad and Bella is the most vapid, shallow, one-dimensional main character in the history of writing. I read the first Harry Potter book in college. It was meh. Maybe if I had been able to share it with my kids I would have understood the appeal, but I didn't have any then. I refuse to read the Hunger Games. I am no longer going to participate in the reading of YA literature just so I know what the rest of you are talking about on Facebook.

I get it - we read to escape. Not everything has to be a Great Work of Literature to be enjoyable. In fact, most of the Great Works of Literature weren't terribly enjoyable for most of us, forced to read them under the icy glare of an English professor who sneered at our sophomoric interpretation of the protagonist's motivation, blah blah blah. I remember hating the books I was "forced" to read, too. I still have nightmares about The House of Seven Gables, and I'm still sure that Hawthorne wrote that specifically to torture high school students. I'm not saying you have to read Shakespeare for fun, not at all (although the Bard abides).

However, it worries me that adult women are relating to young adult fiction so obsessively. Can we truly not find authors who speak to us as adult women, as mothers, as people with complex inner emotional lives and complex responsibilities? What can you possibly get out of reading about a bunch of teenagers? Are you reliving your own glory days? Are you yearning to go back to a time in your life when you were relatively free of responsibility? What is the appeal? I honestly hope someone can explain it to me, because I don't understand.

What about Jodi Picoult? What about Anne Lamont? Diana Gabaldon? Mary Roach? Audrey Niffenegger? (And those are just some of my own favorite female authors off the top of my head... Don't even get me started on the men!) There are so many great books out there written for grown ups, can't we give some of these deserving authors some attention, too?

 Amy normally rants at http://prettybabies.blogspot.com


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