The Young and the Restless?

I’m watching my daughter start to face those struggles we all encounter at that certain age–puberty.  It’s more challenging that I’d expected to watch her try to figure things out for herself, to fail at some things after working so hard.  It’s also difficult to see all my own faults showing up in her and knowing that she’s going to have some of the same struggles I had if she wants to overcome them.

I think it’s because the pubescent and teenage years are so difficult for all of us, so charged with emotion, that writers of all times have chosen to write about young heroes.  Look at Romeo and Juliet.  C.S. Lewis and his four young protagonists. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.  Great Expectations.

Time and again, writers try to delve into that turbulent coming of age.  I don’t know if we write because we wish we could bring ourselves back to those pivotal moments, perhaps to make better choices, or simply because writers love emotion, and young adults are so full of that. I do find, however, that in my own writing, some of my favorite characters are my young ones.

Heh, maybe I should actually try reading The Hunger Games, that my daughter has already read.

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2 responses to “The Young and the Restless?

  1. I took a class a few years ago and we strictly read YA lit. Being in my thirties, I felt weird when I found out the content of the course and considered dropping it, but I am glad I didn’t. It was quite fun dissecting them all, from Are You There God It’s Me Margaret to such YA cult classics as The Catcher in the Rye, The Outsiders and Monster. (My favorite was Perks of Being a Wallflower.)

    Coincidentally, I was also taking a Fiction workshop that semester. My writing background and training up until that point was journalism and creative non-fiction, so writing short stories was a little daunting to me…but I never felt so inspired! And all of the stories I wrote for that class centered on young characters.

    When I really started thinking about it, what I like about these books is that it brings me back to a time that for me was pretty unstable and unhappy. It’s like I get to re-do it when I read them, and even more so when I write them (adolescents).

  2. I absolutely agree. Adolescence is a sweet spot for writing drama – the characters are old enough to go do stuff without their parents, but young enough that it’s all for the first time.

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