“AGAINST YA: Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.” Ruth Graham in Slate
Score. Ruth Graham achieved every journalist’s dream: she sparked a national controversy, scored hundreds of thousands of hits for Slate, got people talking, and maybe even got some people thinking.
Yet her assertion—“These (YA books) are the books that could plausibly be said to be replacing literary fiction in the lives of their adult readers. And that’s a shame.”—seems fundamentally flawed. If I eat at McDonald’s, you can’t assume I don’t eat anything else. If I read John Green, it doesn’t follow that I don’t read Steinbeck. And even if I live on McDonald’s and young adult novels, it’s my choice. Some people would argue it’s a poor choice. But their arguments would not sway me.
Graham also doesn’t take into account that the majority of adults don’t read literary fiction. Period. Romance novels generate over a billion dollars of revenue annually while literary fiction pulls in less than half a million per year.
And I am never embarrassed to read Dr. Seuss.