Thursday, August 19, 2010

Is Every Book With A Teenage Main Character A Coming Of Age Story?

I think of myself as hating coming-of-age stories, mainly because they are so oppressively self-important and pretentious. "I am about something big and serious--just like the last half dozen coming-of-age stories you read."

However, the author of Why are American writers so good at coming-of-age novels? called What I Saw and How I Lied a coming-of-age novel, and I liked it a great deal. But I never thought of it as a coming-of-age novel. I thought of it as classic noir.

If you read the comments after Why are American writers so good at coming-of-age novels?, you'll see people throwing out all kinds of titles and suggesting them as coming of age. Thought provoking. Is coming of age in the eye of the beholder?

Also, why are adult readers so fond of the so-called coming-of-age novel? I think it's because we value being grown-up so very, very much, and in these novels the teen characters are supposed to transition into the adult world, be exposed to something that changes them so they can never be "young" again. Grown-up concerns are just so much more important to grown-up readers than adolescent concerns. If the adolescent character becomes adult, we think something important has happened.

And this link came from Blog of a Bookslut.

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