An article by the 'illustrious' Wall Street Journal was brought to our attention recently. In it, the author expounds on why Teen Fiction today is too dark. Several well known, well read authors are called out for various issues presented in their books, ranging from self-injury to rape and cruelty. As a parent, you have to let your children read what you are comfortable with. But wouldn't this be a perfect opportunity to start a dialogue about some of the 'darker' things in life? Wouldn't this be the perfect opportunity to help your child understand these things, and maybe answer some questions they may have? Just because we push something aside, doesn't make it disappear, doesn't make it any less 'real' to those who are now and who have in the past, lived through it.
You can find the article HERE if you want to read it for yourself.
A few of the authors who were named in the article have responded with their own take about the amount of darkness in teen fiction: Jackie Morse Kessler sounds off about her book, Rage. And Cheryl Rainfeld discusses her book, Scars.
They also state the concern that these things may begin to seem normal to teenagers. They want to avoid this but I don't believe that to be wise. If you're a teenager that hasn't been through these things then these books can help you see what it's like. It prevents teenagers from judging each other so fast.
I have watched cutters be labled, teased, and looked down on. If the teenagers judging them took the time to read these books they would better understand and realize there is a reason for these cutters to seek comfort with a knife. It could inspire teenagers to be more accepting of one another.
If you don't wish your child to read a book then that is for you to decide but I believe these books are just dark enough to help teenagers understand life a little better. They can learn that they aren't alone, to accept one another with more open hearts, and find their own paths in life.