I like Simon Pegg a great deal, but it looks like his latest project, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, might be a little much for me:
Coming on the heels of Young Adult, one of my favorite movies of last year, about a YA author who drinks too much, hasn’t gotten over her high school boyfriend, and is obsessed with her outer appearance at the expense of her inner self, this movie also seems to join in the idea that there’s something a bit off about writers of fiction aimed at children and young adults. That sentiment isn’t particularly surprising, I suppose, given the larger backlash against adults who read fiction aimed at younger people. If folks think they’re lazy, then it would stand to reason that they view people people who produce that fiction as somewhat suspect.
I didn’t say this in my post about Joel Stein’s condescending condemnation about adult YA readers, but the hysteria about grown-ups reading in the genre is strangely disconnected from our other conversations about teenagers. We worry about the state of young people a lot: whether they’re having sex, what their future economic prospects are, whether they’re bullying each other into early graves, how media affects them, whether they’re civically engaged. We probably go overboard on fake trends and panics, whether it’s rainbow parties or salvia. But there’s nothing inherently unrespectable about worrying about what ideas and ideals we’re passing along to the young people in our lives, and what kind of people they’ll turn out to be. Sure, there’s trashy YA fiction mass-produced by people like James Frey’s factor. But a lot of the folks who write for younger readers, whether they’re J.K. Rowling or Friend of the Blog Tamora Pierce, up-and-comer Leigh Bardugo or a legend like Beverly Cleary, are taking on serious questions that we ask in a lot of forums. There’s nothing childish about considering how good children become good adults.