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The Healing Power of Queer Coming-of-Age Stories  [message #77871] Sun, 13 June 2021 20:15 Go to previous message
Bensiamin is currently offline  Bensiamin

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An Op-Ed in today's New York Times by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, from whence this forum string gets its name, ought to attract the attention of authors and readers in this forum!

I've seen frequent discussions of the age of readers at this and other LGBTQ fiction sites, as well as about the range of appropriate topics, etc.
One central quotation from this piece should suffice:
What the books offered me was an alternative history, one full of hope for the life I might have lived, and a kind of longing for a world that wasn't once but might still be.

Y.A. writers today know that they're writing not just for those who are the same age as their characters but also for those who long ago left high school behind. An often-cited 2012 Bowker Market Research study found that the majority of Y.A. book buyers -- 55 percent -- were adults and the largest share of them were age 30 to 44, a group that includes me. Particularly in the queer community, I've noticed, there seems to be an obsessive love for children's media, perhaps because it offers us not only nostalgia but also repair.

Repair is crucial, said Angel Daniel Matos, an assistant professor at Bowdoin College (where I also teach) and the author of the forthcoming "The Reparative Possibilities of Queer Young Adult Literature and Culture." So many queer people "have been through immense pain growing up in our adolescence," Dr. Matos told me. Attempts by the broader culture to "limit who we loved, what we desire, what we do with our bodies" abound. In these stories, then, we get the chance to imagine what it might have been like to grow up in the world depicted on the page or screen instead.

I urge everyone to read the piece and then share your reflections on the main themes.

Read the NY Times piece here

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