Sunday, June 5, 2011

About that "article" (opinion piece)

I heard a great quote a few weeks back that went something like this: Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

So when I read that "article" (opinion piece) in the Wall Street Journal  (no I'm not linking it) about how YA books are disgusting, horrible things that are ruining our youth, I refused to respond with arguments. Instead, I did what I usually do when faced with a person I don't know who is acting a way that perplexes me. I wondered what made the author tick. I tried to find motive and figure out what sort of person would make wide judgments about what my children  should read--about what I should  feel and do as a parent. I treated her like a character in one of my books and I did what all my editors have asked me to do. I dug deeper into the character and I dug deeper into the story and found holes. But I didn't argue. Because for me, arguing with this person is no different than arguing with those lunatics who protest our annual Vagina Monologues  which raises money for rape victims. So far, their picket signs have not made rape victims go away, and I have bigger work to do than to point that out to them.

Then this morning, I found Liz B.'s response over at her SLJ blog and I was so happy she found the same plot and character holes I did. So I made a comment there--of which I want to quote a portion here as my only response to that "article" (opinion piece.)
What I found most disturbing was the recommended reading list–which was made of books which are plenty dark whose authors would likely disagree with the article. The bizarre need to genderize it was the perfect irony. If our society would stop being so obsessed about sexuality, gender and sex roles maybe we’d have some time to talk about and work on the real problems which cause real darkness in 1 out of 3 people’s lives. And maybe the WSJ would print articles about the startling teen rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence statistics that our country boasts. 
Or, we could just ignore it and you know, go back to talking about bedbugs and the weather.
Go add to the discussion at #yasaves on Twitter. Make sure to hug your well-informed librarians and booksellers as soon as you can. I will also hug my open-minded parents today. Until then, I'm going to go work on my next dangerous piece of fiction. Because I have letters around here that prove that telling the truth in YA books saves lives. And I am damn proud to be a part of that.

Adding this late: Here's a response from my good friend Jackie Morse Kessler, whose book was mentioned in the article (opinion piece) that I think is just awesome.


Laura said...

When the author quoted Jackie Morse Kessler's novel, Rage, all I could think was, "Damn, that's beautiful writing."

Marie Rearden said...

So positively put, AS! Makes me want to writewritewrite, because someone needs to hear something from somewhere right now.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that you have a blog!
I'm your fan. I read ignoren a Vera Dietz (please ignore vera dietz) in spanish (because i'm from mexico)a lot of months ago, well, not TOO MUCH months, but a few, and I just can't stop of reading it again and again :)

I love your book. I'm only 15 years old, and I want to write like you some day. C:


A.S. King said...

Laura: Jackie is amazing and her books are awesome.

Marie: Yes! Please writewritewrite.

A.B.: YOU TOTALLY ROCK. Yes, I have a blog. And here it is! And I am so thrilled to hear you are a fan! Yay! I hope you get to read EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS in Spanish too!

Anonymous said...

I hope so too ! C:
You're awsome (:

Maya said...

I was just as ticked when I read the article, but I LOVE the reactions the YA community has been having. People are making a stand to support YA and are coming forward with stories of how YA saved them. It's inspiring and humbling. Even though this article was published and has bashed the genre, I think that a lot of good has come of it, too.

Well said! :)

Anonymous said...

From Lyn @ Goodreads:

Lyn Fairchild Hawks Hi, Ms. King,

I loved Please Ignore Vera Dietz. It "had me at hello" and didn't shy away from the darkness. Meanwhile, Vera tackled her pain and terror with a unique heroine's set of choices. I applauded her all the way.

I also went on your recommendation to check out Jackie Morse Kessler's blog and enjoyed hearing her perspective. I left a comment there about "redemption" in a work and would be interested in your thoughts on the subject.