Fuse #8

Monday, April 02, 2007

Horses = Sex (Making the HP/Equus Connection All the More Fun)

Good morning, sleepyheads. Time to brush the sleep from your eyes and quick-as-quick defend your love of children's literature. A Ms. Rebecca Ore, adult author, has tossed a gauntlet of interesting points and pricks. Here's what she has to say in an opening paragraph from a piece on her blog:
Children's fiction doesn't, on average, sell directly to its primary audience and is more likely to reflect adult views of what childhood is than the real thing. Most children begin reading adult fiction as soon as they're capable as most children are markedly less sentimental about childhood than most adults. Most adults don't understand what kids get from Aesop's Fables, the fantasies of dying and failing and making excuses. YA books are for the average readers, rarely for the readers who'll continually passionate reading as adults.
Better than coffee, no? That stuff'll just work like toothpicks to your eyelids.

Anywho, the piece goes on and is less inflammatory after that rarum scarum opening. There are some standard comparisons to horses in children's books. Nothing you haven't heard before. A nice concentration on Babar's butt (though no mention of his racism, which is rare and to be grateful for, I think).

This may yet be an example of someone indulging in sweeping generalizations about books they haven't kept a close eye on as of late, of course. On the other hand, maybe she has a point or two. While no contemporary titles are mentioned (and no YA for that matter), how do you react to the idea that, "Children are erotic in ways that most adults don't apparently remember, and it's the male writers of children's books that seem to understand this more than the female"?

There is nothing I like more in this world than a writer with an opinion. Give me that over the standard line any old day.

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At 8:18 AM , Blogger Sarah Louise said...

YA novels are written for the average reader--GAH! Now, I didn't read "adult" novels until I was in college (my parents aren't readers and I wasn't in AP English and I LIKED YA novels, esp. Cynthia Voigt)...

This woman wouldn't "get" the movie You've Got Mail, methinks, Meg Ryan's line about what you read as a child forms who you are...I feel my blood pressure must have gone up at least two points already.

Deep breath. GAH!

At 10:19 AM , Blogger Lisa Jenn said...

My impression is that Ore's knowledge of children's literature (including YA) is both out of date and limited to her personal memories. Perhaps it's a false inference, but she seems to equate YA books with the "kid romances" she mentions in the next paragraph. I wonder where she's been, that she thinks student nurses are still what YA lit is about.

As for child eroticism -- if by this she means butts and gruesomeness, I can think of two such picture books by female authors without any hesitation: Ain't Gonna Paint No More, by Karen Beaumont, and Tadpole's Promise, by Jeanne Willis. And what about Wolves? And The Dirty Cowboy? And, and, and... I wouldn't say there's a gender bias without calculating the cold, hard statistics, but I think there's plenty out there to counter her argument.

At 12:14 PM , Blogger Gwenda said...

One word: CRAZY.

I've been watching this trainwreck in various locations for a week. CRAZY.

At 12:23 PM , Blogger Gwenda said...

Oh, and I should add that in one of those locales (maybe this one? I can't remember) she basically says that people who are concerned with children's literature or who write it can't be feminists.

At 12:35 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Oh, thank God. This was one of those postings that got me seriously worried when no one wrote in an opinion. This is a bit more like it. Let it all hang out.

At 6:52 PM , Blogger Gail Gauthier said...

I found her post very rambly. I really didn't see what her point was in getting started on the whole thing. Was she responding to something, to some article critiquing kidlit?

At 9:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do think you have to actively read a genre to be able to critique it fairly and intelligently.

At 4:53 PM , Blogger tanita✿davis said...

I'm assuming we ALL must have missed something in this conversation... this woman is rambling on YA/children's lit that yes, probably include Cherry Ames, Student Nurse as the last YA book series she read... a lot of opinion, not a lot to back it up.

At 8:08 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

I'm so tired of the sweeping generalizations about children's and YA literature. Slate and Salon are guilty of publishing such articles all the time. At least this is merely the blog opinion of a writer. Guess she shouldn't write YA fiction, eh?


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