Sunday, November 16, 2008

This Is Actually A Good Thing

A review of Paper Towns in The Ithacan Online (the Ithaca College paper) has received some attention in the kidlitosphere. Our young reviewer praises John Green by burying an entire genre. "The young-adult genre has been riddled with uninspiring novels that lack any kind of creativity or originality...John Green is one of the few young-adult authors who has the ability to really tell a story and captivate the reader."

Well, student writers often over generalize. I can tolerate it from them far more easily than I can from their experienced elders. ("...a nimble, undidactic antidote to all the dubious clichés of the genre. Sick of seemingly insignificant characters who discover they have a secret identity and a momentous destiny? Tired of stories that hinge on cryptic prophecies and the retrieval of magical talismans? Miéville dares to insist that nerve, heart and determination is all a hero(ine) really needs." That sounds like spunk. I hate spunk.)

What struck me as positive about this whole thing was that a college paper was reviewing a YA book. That's terrific! You know who you find in colleges? That's right...YAs. Okay, they won't be YA for long, but tell that to all those moms who were reading Twilight.

By the way, I read The Ithacan pretty regularly for four years. Very nice college paper.

Link from Jen Robinson.


Jen Robinson said...

Kudos for looking on the bright side on this one, Gail. I hadn't thought about it that way.

tanita✿davis said...

Yes... it is actually a good thing. Somewhere out there, a professor is allowing someone to do a paper on someone a.) not dead b.) um, I guess he's male. c.)...well, John Green is Caucasian. But it's a start for a teacher to stand against the Dead White Male syndrome from which the literary canon suffers. And though the student generalizes all over the place, at least the alive white male is there to contradict him with his blogging and public speaking, etc. It's so much easier to generalize about what Hawthorne said since he's not around to tell you off!

Anonymous said...

What does "spunk" mean?

Gail Gauthier said...

Spirit. Pluck. There's a famous quote from the Mary Tyler Moore Show in which her boss tells her, "You know what? You've got spunk." She thinks he's flattering her, but then he continues, "I hate spunk."

Spunky female protagonists are common in children's literature.