“Because I Said So” column for The Commercial Appeal
March 29, 2012
I’m in the minority in my house in that I don’t read young adult fiction. The kids read it. My wife, an English teacher at Central High School, reads it. I think I can’t get into it for a couple of reasons. First, I’m a not-young adult. Second, I don’t really go in for fantasy and science fiction and the lot. This may put me in the minority of all of today’s readers, come to think of it, but I need the action to take place in real cities and countries; I need the plot to twist on something other than time travel, wizardry or the backs of sparkly vampires.
Regardless of my views on young adult literature, there is no escaping the latest craze, “The Hunger Games.” There are more than 20 million books in print, and the film adaptation opened last weekend with a record-breaking box office. Well played, author Suzanne Collins.
It seems that quite a bit of such books has to do with a postapocalyptic world, a dystopian future where a person relies on wits and cunning to survive against roving bands of marauders, dictatorial and all-seeing governments, or zombies. My family wouldn’t make it very far in such a world. I hope they’re learning survival skills by reading these books and watching these films, but if it comes down to who can get to the dwindling food supplies first, we’ll starve waiting for 5-year-old Genevieve to find her shoes so we can leave the house … (read more)