Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Right to Put a Book Down

Ever struggle reading a book? (Silly question, I know.)

I am struggling with a YA book right now, and typically I find something to latch onto in most YA books and do not struggle reading them at all.

Right now, The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George has become a chore...a yoke... at 118 pages into it. My struggle is in the writing, and not in the story. The story carries a lot of promise, and I don't know, maybe I am just being too "old" or too snobby about books when I say the writing is leaving me unfulfilled, unchallenged.

The only way I can categorize it is to provide an example. The following passage is representative of the entire book which feels like an adult tried too hard to write the way teens speak and think--it reads awkwardly:
Afterward I was, like, shaking. For a second, right after I put the phone, I thought I might throw up. I hate letting people down. It's my least favorite thing in the world. My mom was so sweet to me about it, though--she made me tea and sat with me on the couch and reminded me that this experience was actually really good practice for me.
I am around teenagers for a living, and have been in some capacity since 1993. I feel like every teen-adult stereotype is just jammed into that little passage from page 119. Well, image that over the previous 118 pages.  Honestly, I expect more out of YA literature and most of the time the writing is there. I am just not connecting with this writing style. As a reader I wonder if this author is around young people much at all.

What nags me, however, is the fact that this author is attacking a subject worthy of being written about-changing the world. Because it addresses several issues in a healthy way, I want to like the book. I want to recommend the book.

Further complicating matters...

Emblazoned across the top of the book jacket is a quote from YA author Laurie Halse Anderson which reads, "Achingly honest and empowering."

YA author Maureen Johnson says "The difference between you and me is different--and complicated, and romantic, and fun."

And YA author Robin McKinley calls it "dazzingly good."

So, listen, maybe it is me. Maybe I am being too stuffy and narrow-minded. Because of that, I am going to dive in again this morning and give it another hour of my time. If it doesn't improve over the next 59 minutes or so I may exercise my right as a reader that I rarely invoke.

The right to put a book down. Forever.

1 comment:

  1. A few years ago, I realized that I had too many books I wanted to read to stay with a book that held no interest, even if it was by authors that I liked. Sometimes, you have to close up the book and move on.