When my kids were little, the books I remembered from my own
childhood came flooding back: The Poky Little Puppy, All of a Kind
Family, Dr. Suess, Red Tag the Salmon, Island of the Blue Dolphins. But
I thought, somehow, that I remembered them sort of separately from the
ages my kids were, or that, I don't know, that was going to be the sum
total of my childhood-book-reading memories.
It turns out, there's a whole other vein of book memories to be, uh,
explored, and it's a wee bit more upsetting than those mentioned
previously. As I watch Diana get ready for middle school, and
teenager-hood (teenage-dom?), I'm remembering the scary books of
adolescence: Go Ask Alice, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Lisa
Bright and Dark.
I know that books tend to change along with kids. Someone 10 won't get
the same rush from Machines at Work that someone 4 will. And I welcome
the increasing complexity of their minds, their interests, and their
comprehension of the world around them. It's been pretty excellent thus far.
But why were we reading so much about crazy girls back then? Was it a
70s thing? Is it part of an evolving understanding of mental health? Or is it a
70s disaster-movie sense that the world itself going crazy? Or is it part of handling adolescence,
the feeling that you're crazy as is everything and everyone around you. But why girls specifically?
They don't seem to publish these sorts of books now. Or am I wrong? Maybe I need to explore the world of YA more.
But why were we all reading these? What do you guys think?