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Thursday, January 27, 2011

DISCUSSION: Uneducated Criticism of YA

Uneducated Criticism of YA

I don't know about you, but I am constantly asked why I don't read "better books," a.k.a., books with adult protagonists. My dad is constantly ragging on me for reading "kid books" instead of whatever he considers real. I get that word a lot: real. What makes a book this enigmatic, mysterious real? According to most of my family and some more vocal Barnes & Noble shoppers, the age of the protagonist is he defining factor.

Just a few weeks ago, I was browsing through the young adult section, looking for a few new releases I needed to pick up, when a middle-aged woman (looking very "important" and wearing one of those really sharp suits) walked up to me and said (BTW, not her exact words. I don't remember exact words from a conversation I had weeks ago.), "Aren't you a bit old for this section?" Mind you, I'm only 16. She then proceeded to explain that she was only there to buy a birthday gift for her 10-year-old daughter.

First off, WTF? What does she know about how old I am, or how old is "too old" for the YA section. There is no too old. If you enjoy a certain type of book, then you read it. That's that. There really isn't much to it. I don't understand why she felt the need to tell me that I was too old for YA, but I was quite offended.

So, for all of you readers, have you been criticized for your reading tastes? Why, and by whom? What was your response? I, personally, had no idea what to say to this woman. I just tell my family members to eat dirt and die when they say anything, but this was just some random stranger. What do you do in that situation? I just shrugged, gave her the evil eye, and walked away.