I thought of Little Princess too and even more so Secret Garden. The Victorian novels for children were full of death, poverty, and in a word Reality, which as we all know, includes darkness. When i was a tween/teen i read books about anorexia/drugs/divorce& death etc…Judy Blume even had “dark” themes and we all read VC Andrews voraciously, and hey, the gang at Sweet Valley High always had drama happening! ;) I have noticed more of a trend towards suicide in YA, but I think that should be discussed. Teenagehood can be dark, and frankly, scary
I think one reason HP appealed to so many was b/c Jo did not forget that and gloss over life, and maybe that had been missing in books for awhile.
[PS- I am really just the tweetmaster at jkrfan, but loving being part of the site! thanks for following :)]
Oh I love the title, Tweetmaster, very cool!
I agree that being a teen is dark, it’s a rough time. Having not been a teen for a while, I’m sure I’ve forgotten much of how hard it is. I also think that reading the Teen books of today helps me remember the feelings.
Thanks for the comments, and the tweets.
I do feel that literature historically reflects the time. (For pity sakes…just look at Charles Dickens works!). In all literature, I think the “danger” comes when we as adults fail to follow what our children are reading and fail to engage them in discussion about it.
Also agree with Flora Lovegood’s comments regarding the appeal of HP. JKR wrote her story in a very intimate and realistic way that instantly connected with each of us.
Thanks, Doris, for sharing your thoughts on this topic :)
Thanks Lillylove for reminding us about Dickens. He is an incredible example of how art reflects society. (and he did it in such an incredible way)
I’m a little late in posting to this but I just saw it now. I do think in some ways literature/art reflects society. But I have to wonder, how many teen books have the writers of this article read? Because a majority of them ARE dark.
There tons of vamp books out there for teens nowadays and there were when I was a teenager too. I also recall reading some intense horror stories in my teens as well, or have these guys never heard of R.L.Stine? Also, I would like to point to V.C.Andrews who had incest in her books. Anyways, there have always been dark YA novels out there. There probably always will be because teens are an angsty bunch (a majority of them anyway) and when you angst you tend to want to read something that reflects your mood.
I doubt it’s “harmful” to them though. Plenty of people read Stephan King and I don’t see anyone worrying about the effect that has on people.