The subdued lime green cover intoxicated my eyes though its wear was apparent – there were various stained pages and the cover was bent and it smelled like people, readers, wanders.
So whenever people, especially you because I know that you discount YA sometimes even though I tell you otherwise, I reference this book.
I am currently reading it for the third time and it feels like the first. Charlie’s voice is still my voice even though I am no longer a teenager. The writing is still poignant and honest and direct. Reading it again makes me wish I could write like that too. Maybe that’s why I am writing to you. To show you that you can’t really ignore a book that makes you feel alive, and dare I write it – infinite – just because it is labeled with a Y and an A.
There was a time in college I was questioning my passion for YA. A part of me felt like I was wasting my time because I felt alone in my appreciation for these books, especially in an academic literary environment. Sure, I know what you’re thinking: “These books are everywhere, Lourdes! They finally have the recognition you have been babbling on about for ten years.” But, now I wonder if people are into YA because it is expected. I mean you have read “The Hunger Games.” I haven’t. A person who loves YA and everything associated with it has not read “The Hunger Games.” What is my problem?
I just need to understand why we need, you need, to overanalyze YA so much. Don’t get me wrong. There are an exorbitant number of things to analyze: writing styles, plot techniques, characterizations – looking at YA through these lenses is difficult, rewarding, and enriching. I have done all these things, but they are not why I love YA. Can’t I just read these books because they make me feel? Does this make me moronic or mentally underdeveloped because I need a static object to stimulate my emotions? Am I that detached?
I think this is why “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is my favorite book. It makes me feel. It makes me think. It makes me wonder. It makes me appreciate. It makes me alive.
When was the last time a book did all that for you?
And if this theoretical, life altering book made you feel, how can I come along and discredit it? In a roundabout way I am negating, ignoring your emotions, what makes you human. If I discredit this book I am also devaluing what it made you feel. I am labeling it as unimportant and uncultured. How can I value what you feel if it is based on something I don’t acknowledge as worthy? It is no longer a debate of literary merit but a discussion of emotional worth.
But you see I am over-analyzing YA again!
The next time I see you I hope I don’t find that you have taken this letter too personally. It is just what’s on my mind. You always tell me I need to express myself more. I guess I can only do it through a discussion of literature, of the young adult variety.
* This blog entry has been written in the style of Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” The main character Charlie writes these letters to a person that is never revealed to the reader. The “Dear Friend” for me in this existence is left up to the reader to decide.