This past Thursday marked the first ever #NALitChat — a weekly Twitter discussion about New Adult literature (modeled after the popular #YALitChat on Wed nights). Moderators led us through a 5-question agenda — what is NA, who writes it, who publishes it, etc. — and a thoughtful, lively conversation ensued. I’m looking forward to more in the future.
In this post, I want to pull out one thread that is of particular interest to me:
I asked this in response to someone’s comment that parents could be absent in NA lit without it being as weird as in YA lit. But really, is it less weird? Do parents suddenly evaporate when we turn 18? Or, don’t most of us have to learn how to become more independent while also negotiating the shifting dynamics of our family relationships?
(To clarify: I’m not saying that all books should include 2 great parents. That wouldn’t represent the variety of family situations we see in real life.)
Obviously I’m in favor of including parents when possible. Or at least parental figures. Or at least involved adults in some positive capacity? (The standards just keep getting lower and lower…)
I think too many writers “kill off” parents because it has become the norm, and because it’s easier than trying to represent those complex relationships. But talk about a bad message to send. I mean, critics go nuts about whether there’s too much sex and violence in literature for young people. But what about the idea that life would be better/easier/happier/more exciting without parents? That you don’t need your parents? That they’re inept, or trying to control you, or trying to prevent you from having fun or reaching your goals?