With much deliberation, I’ve decided to post my first ever blog rant. It’s a big lengthy, and probably full of gibberish, but one thing I’ve learned as a book reviewer is that opinions are something to make known. And keep in mind, all of this in my opinion. If you agree, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s completely fine. Comments are welcomed, but please go easy on me! I’m not so great with explaining myself, but I hope I made at least a little bit of sense.
Everybody walks away from a book differently; some hate it, some love it, some are so-so. I understand this and I respect this. I also understand that everybody has a different aspect on how they read. Some read for entertainment, for laughs and good-hearted emotions that certain books can provide. Others, like myself, read for an escape from real life; to put yourself in another story, maybe even another world for just a few hundred pages. And if you’re reading this right now, and agreeing to everything I‘ve said so far, I‘m pretty sure you enjoy finding those escapes in young adult fiction.
Fiction. As in, not real. As in, completely fabricated from the imagination of the author. The point of this rant is that I’ve been seeing tons of reviews, posts, comments on how readers are getting frustrated that certain young adult novels/the characters included aren’t realistic enough.
Shall I define fiction once more? A novel or story that describes imaginary people and events. Sure, fiction can, and most do, feature elements of realistic situations. But for the most part, if you want to read “realistic”, you need to be scouring the non-fiction shelves instead.
For me, personally, I like the out of the ordinary and unexpected. Not just in paranormal stories either. Throw a twisted, unlikely love triangle at me and I’ll be very happy. Why? Because I’ll never have a twisted love triangle in my life. Throw a gorgeous literary hunk at me, I don’t mind at all. Why? Because, well, I doubt I’d ever have a chance with anybody as gorgeous as these stories describe. But if only for a few hundred pages, I can empathize with the main character and get lost in her love story as well. It’s true; these kinds of things are so ridiculously unrealistic, but that’s what makes reading fiction so amazing.
I think some readers just take books too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing at all, but some readers need to realize that it’s not real. And I know everybody probably gets sick of hearing about this, but I’m going to bring it up anyway- Twilight. Just because Edward barks orders at Bella, and Bella sticks her tail between her legs and obeys his every command, doesn’t mean that Stephenie Meyer is condoning that kind of relationship. Bella and Edward are literary characters. They’re not perfect, they’re not realistic. They’re part of a young adult FICTION novel. (And seriously, looking for human flaws in a relationship where one half of the party is a vampire is just kind of ridiculous, if you ask me.) My point is- it’s not real, and Stephenie probably didn’t intend for her story to send a message such as “girls need to be pushovers when it comes to their boyfriends.” Twilight (and the characters involved) is a work of fiction. I repeat- fiction.
Another thing? And this isn’t really relevant to this topic, I just feel like bringing it up. Not every main protagonist needs to be a strong, independent woman. I’m all for female empowerment, but it’s okay for main characters to be wimps sometimes. It’s okay for them to make wrong choices and end up in stupid relationships with cheesy, pretty male characters. Because you know what? It’s (word of the day) fiction. These aren’t true stories, and reading about shy, geeky pushovers isn‘t going to turn you into one and it isn‘t sending a message that you should be one. She‘s a character in a novel. That is it.
I guess I’ve ranted enough. I probably just rambled a whole lot of nonsense, but I hope my point came across at least a little and didn't offend anyone in the process. Breaking down and analyzing every single teeny-tiny detail about the characters, the stories, the relationships- while it’s in a reviewer’s nature to do so, to an extent- kind of takes all the fun out of reading. I do believe that most books have realistic meaning and messages to them. But at the end of the day, it’s just fiction, people. Lighten up and enjoy the book.