Labeling it

As I have previously mentioned, I’m a firm believer in seeing the movie before reading the book. Last year DH2U and I went to go see The Hunger Games just before it left the theaters.

Hunger Games Poster

I’d just received the book from Paperbackswap, so I had to go see it first. A few weeks after seeing the movie, I jumped into the book.

I like that it is now acceptable for those of us who are middle aged to read “young adult” fiction. So many adults (myself included) would never think of going into the Young Adult section to browse for ourselves. Go pick up Harry Potter or Lemony Snickett, yes, but just to look, no. It is such a shame, because there is some really good stuff in there … which I discovered trying to track down the copy of Planet of the Apes that the library’s system claimed it had. Did you know that Robinson CrusoeKidnapped, and Land that Time Forgot, are all categorized that way, even though it was a genre that didn’t exist when the books were written?!?!?

(Author’s aside: If you haven’t already read Planet of the Apes, please do! It is wonderful! And the ending is very different than the movie. It’s a quick 250 page read. I’ll wait.)

I know many times I’ve allowed my own often mistaken perceptions keep me away from things I ultimately enjoyed. What allowed me to make the jump from non-Sci Fi reader to sci fi lover was Slaughter House Five. I loved Kurt Vonnegut instantly, and I am so glad I didn’t notice the UFO sticker on the spine until I was done. Have I mentioned that I’m not very observant?

So often in my life I’ve found myself frustrated with the sole cause being a label I have put on something; normally it is labeling something as “wrong” when actually it is simply “different” from what I had anticipated. Those labels that we use are so important because they affect how we see situations and other people. With CERT, victims are the ones who didn’t make it. We help the “survivors.” How empowering that term is to the people who receive the service!

Have you ever found yourself tripped up by a label? or Am I alone in thinking that the only books that should be in the Young Adult section are those written after that label’s creation? There I go again, setting myself up for frustration!

7 thoughts on “Labeling it”

  1. yes, Tammy, this is an aspect of being in book clubs I’ve appreciated, among other things, over the years; that I’m pushed to read things I wouldn’t normally have tried. Sometimes to no avail, but more often – being opened up to genres and writing and stories I really enjoyed.

    The novel I wrote is a YA novel – still editing and tweaking it before submitting it out into the world again – but I do think it’s become a pretty sophistacted genre. They are not “dummied down” in any aspect of the term.

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    1. I have enjoyed the complexity that comes with a lot of YA works. I read “I am Number Four” which is a sci-fi YA work, and other than the fact that the title character is in high school, it could easily ditch it’s “YA” label.

      I didn’t know your novel was YA. I can’t wait to see it on the shelves … even the electronic Amazon version of a shelf.

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    1. I remember the television show as well! It freaked me out when I was young. I didn’t get it.

      While I saw the 2001 remake of the movie, I must say I’m a purist when it comes to Charlton Heston playing the lead role. I saw the original for the first time after seeing the remake, and what a difference! I was horrified at the thought of neutering that gorgeous man.

      AND, the book, which is just as good as the movie, has no right being in the YA section: It’s French (as my librarian friend described it) and highly sexual.

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  2. I’m so glad YA fiction has become acceptable to read as adults too. There’s a lot of good stuff there. Plus I think it helps younger readers read it since they feel more grown up for reading it. That’s my theory at least.

    I did the same thing with Hunger Games. I saw the movie and had to find the book. My wife and I bought it in London and read it all the way through in a few days while we were on trains or in our downtime at night. Then we bought the next two books and read them on the plane.

    Planet of the Apes though…I haven’t read that. 250 pages? That does seem like a quick read. I’ll have to check it out. Love that movie.

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    1. My local library has the YA section just where it belongs – on the wall that separates the “fiction section” from the “children’s” section. They don’t have to go into the little kids room any more, which I’m sure makes a big difference to a lot of readers.

      “Hunger Games” was a quick read. I haven’t read the rest of the series yet. “Planet of the Apes” is more adult than young and VERY good.

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