I Think There’s Been a Misunderstanding

From a recent article about why adults like YA:

Now Dr Louise Joy, a Cambridge University academic, has suggested that traditional children’s tales attract older readers because they offer things that jaded adults cannot find in their everyday lives. “Books such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach offer a world where self-consciousness is overthrown and relationships are straightforward… But relationships in the real adult world are often fraught by miscommunication and the impossibility of understanding one another properly.”

I’m sorry, but is she reading different version of these books? Neither Alice nor James have an easy time of it, even just when they try to communicate. Also, I don’t think I’ve seen many people with Alice in Wonderland on the T recently. Mostly, if people are reading YA, I’d wager it was something written in the last 50 years.

Also, maybe Joy had a different childhood than I did, but I’m pretty sure children’s relationships are fraught with miscommunication. It can be hard enough for kids to understand the layers of their emotions; communicating those layers is even worse. Look at Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time. In the initial chapters, she has a horrible time communicating with pretty much anyone outside her family. She’s emotional and volatile and sensitive. And what about Max in Where the Wild Things Are? He torments the dog and gets sent to his room. How are these characters and their relationships free of any kind of misunderstanding?

Someone needs to get Dr. Joy into the children’s section of a local library immediately.

(via bookshelves of doom)

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