It’s all John Green’s fault.
I’m not just talking about the strong likelihood that I’ll be ugly-crying in public alongside fellow fans of “The Fault In Our Stars” in a theater near me this weekend — I mean the fact that I’m reading much fiction at all these days. But apparently I’m supposed to be embarrassed about my love of Green’s books.
Says Ruth Graham, author of a recent Slate.com jeremiad that proclaims: “Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children.” Graham goes on to assert that realistic (i.e. non-supernatural, non-dystopian) young-adult-targeted books are somehow supplanting works of literary fiction in adults’ reading lives and how that’s a “shame.”
It’s the “should” (Slate’s italics, not mine) here that vexes me most. It implies that someone else’s hierarchy of taste and personal experience takes precedent over your own, when in reality, letting go of that is one of the great spoils of achieving adulthood.
Let me get anecdotal here for a second.