Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sick-lit: What??

Today I came across a VERY frustrating article (click here to read). The journalist for a U.K. website went off on how "sick-lit" is becoming a disturbing phenomenon. At the top of the references was the book The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (if you haven't read it I highly recommend you do so). The journalist goes on to say, "While the Twilight series and its imitators are clearly fantasy, these books don't spare any detail of the harsh realities of terminal illness, depression and death."

I'm not sure what goes on this journalist's life, but it would appear that they live in a bubble.

 I've done the "raising a teenage girl" thing before with two stepdaughters who (thankfully) turned out to be intelligent, respectful, well-adjusted women. My daughter is about to turn 13 in just a couple of days (*sob*). I know there's some pretty dark stuff that can go on in a teen's life in today's society. My own slightly tainted childhood experiences include having a cousin die of cancer when I was just 8 and pulling up to his house just behind the hearse. If this journalist is suggesting we shelter our children from such literature because of these serious subjects, they're just living in serious denial. Terrible things happen. Young children die of cancer and commit suicide. Kids cut themselves to express their feelings. Small children are gunned down in their classroom by a madman. We know this from real life. If teens are reading books about these things, it's up to their parents to talk to them about these issues.

I read the same books as my daughter so I know exactly what goes into that intelligent brain of hers (she's an 'A' honor roll student). I'm going to have her read The Fault in Our Stars so she can see just what kids facing cancer have to deal with. I know it will make her a more compassionate person. She knows two kids in school who were very recently diagnosed with cancer. Would this U.K. journalist suggest it's better for my daughter to live in the dark and not understand the kinds of things her schoolmates will have to face? I promise you, there is nothing in this book that "glamorizes" cancer. It's a very sad, depressing book in which teens die. It's reality.

Tannith Carey of really needs a wake up call.

**As as side-note: I certainly don't condone writing on these subjects to get higher sales. I don't think it was really a "trend" when John Green wrote this book.**


LTM said...

I haven't noticed this trend! I guess I'm the one in the bubble b/c what other books have been written about teens facing cancer?

Anyway, I think YOU'RE right. Books and literature are the BEST way to deal with, understand, and discuss such things. From what I've heard Green's book is fantastic! <3

Jen Naumann said...

The journalist put books focusing on dark issues like cutting, suicide and cancer in this sick-lit category. I think those topics in books have all been around for quite a while. This journalist just seems pretty floored by John Green's book. It really is fantastic, totally worth a read!

Lauryn April said...

I completely agree. I think there's this idea out there (that finally people are starting to change with books like these) that YA should be "clean" and happy and "light". But that's not reality, and that doesn't teach teens about the world.

She write "'When you write for children, you have a moral and social responsibility,' says Amanda. 'I think there is a cavalier attitude towards this in the publishing industry, especially as children as young as 11 are likely to be reading these books." Maybe 11 is a little young for some of these topics (maybe not) but parents should be making that decision. And I agree that we have a moral and social responsibility to teens and young adults, but thats exactly why these books should be written, and I don't think there's anything 'cavalier' about the serious topics that they discuss.

Great post, I never would have seen this article otherwise.

Emma Hart said...

As a UK citizen, I'd advise you to not listen to a word DM says. They are trash, for real. But I totally agree, having a 'darker' past myself, I think reality is better in fantasy in some circumstances, and if an author can put reality into a book in a way that won't emotionally scar teens *such as myself* who are we to argue?

Stacy Bernstein said...

I agree with you completely, as a generation maybe we are into books that stray quite a bit from our real lives, but my reasoning for picking up TFIOS wasnt because it was about cancer, but because it was about LOVE.

John Green has captured something in these pages that I long to find in my life (minus the cancer part of course) and I continue reading books like this because I like the feelings that I get in return. Yes maybe I felt extreme loss and sadness for these people, but I also felt happy and love and plenty of other positive emotions.

Thanks for taking the time to write this and thanks for stopping by my blog earlier today. Always appreciate an educated reader so i'm glad that you will be checking in on my reviews.

-Stacy at Longtime Lover Of Literature

Tanith Carey said...
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