Top Three Pet Peeves of the Week!

Top Peeve #1 - The belittling of YA

This week has been one of debate in the YA lit world. Ever since M.C. Gurdon published her post, "Darkness Too Visible" in The Wall Street Journal, YA writers, readers and bloggers have been expressing their fury at having their favourite works demeaned. 

For those of you who didn't read the article, here it is in all of its ignorant glory. 

Now on one level, I do think that some YA lit is dark. I think there has been an increase in the more mature content. I just don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I think it simply reflects the fact that teenagers today are a hell of a lot more grown up than they were a few decades ago. 

How I feel about the article can be best summed up by a comment I posted in a Figment Forum a few days ago:

I've been commenting on this on blogs all morning, and my rage continues unabated! In a world where there is plenty of adult fiction which asks whether or not "my bum looks big in this", YA literature (and yes, I consider a lot of it literature), focuses on how to make the right choices, how to cope with sometimes harsh reality, and sometimes even the bigger stuff, like battles between good and evil!
When did these questions ever become valueless?
People seem so willing to belittle not just the YA genre, but the audience itself. Why is it assumed that young adults can't deal with "dark" realities?
I know some people would argue that the paranormal aspects of the YA genre are hardly realistic, but then Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" was seen as an allegory, Bram Stoker's "Dracula" is seen as literature representative of its time... paranormal doesn't translate as hacky!
Sylvia Plath (and I don't mean to disparage her work here either...) is seen as a classic author, and her work was dark with self pitying characters. In so much modern YA lit, the "dark" realities are coped with with a strength than is not witnessed in "The Bell Jar", yet that is an A Level text!
Perhaps Gurdon was hoping that youngsters would survive on a steadfast diet of Blyton and Dahl until they turned 20? I grew up with these authors and they have a special place in my heart... but please! "Malory Towers" is one of my favourite series from childhood, but even back then I understood that it was weird for 300 (all white) girls to live together without any cases of wild partying or same-sex interaction. Puberty isn't even touched upon! Statistically speaking, 18 of 300 girls would be either gay or bisexual, but I don't think Darrell Rivers ever had to even buy a bra or cope with PMT! To me, THAT is a "hideously distorted" portrayal of reality. To me, that's not reality at all!
Does Gurdon think that books were better when there was no sign of real, practical situations? No diversity? No moral problems? No questions which couldn't be answered without a Bible and a cup of tea?
What Gurdon considers "hideously distorted portrayals", young adults (hey, ALL of us) might be able to identify as the murky waters of deciding what kinds of people we want to be, what kind of life we want to live. Questions of identity are never crystal clear, and I think that the YA genre provides the comfort of relatable characters in situations that we can all empathise with.
*Takes a deep breath*
Okay. Rant over!

Pet Peeve #2 - People who see statistics instead of people.
My favourite thing about being a secondary school English teacher is the interaction it allows me to have with the bright young minds of the future. I get to help young readers to see the joy that is to be had in disseminating a text and savouring every morsel of language that has been used to weave literary masterpieces. I get to spend time with my writing clubs and marvel at how elegantly the people who attend can manipulate lexis and syntax to sculpt some rather wonderful pieces of writing. 
I really, truly enjoy that aspect of my job. I hate it when adults behave like anyone under 21 is somehow less significant than themselves. Doesn't everyone deserve respect, no matter how old they are? 

Pet Peeve #3 - £$£$£
Oh my god, I just don't care about money. This is probably why I never have any. Yes, money is necessary, yes it means I can buy books. But if another person talks at me about how much their earning or spending on this, that and the other, I may go insane. 
Your shoes cost more than £100? Why did I need to know that? That crappy piece of information has just made me forget something interesting, I bet...
You holiday in the Bahamas every year? Really? Could you maybe just not come back this year...?
You pay how much on this, that and whatever every month? Why don't you just say "Ooo look what I can afford! This means I'm all posh and better than everyone else!" Here's some news, you aren't You might be slightly more annoying though!

Ahhhhh... sharing is definitely good for the soul! What has irritated you this week? Do you feel the same about my pet peeves, or are you peeved at my whining? Either way, I'd love to know your TOP THREE PET PEEVES OF THE WEEK. 
Post in the comments!


  1. The third pet peeve is also my pet peeve! Why do people insist on telling me what they earn and how much things costs. I only tell people how much things are when I got them dead cheap. Bargains need to be informed to everyone!

  2. I think with YA, so many more adults are reading it as well, which fuels it's popularity. When a genre can cross age gaps, it's doing something fantastic. I think it's okay for young adults to read material that is more mature if they themselve are mature enough to read it and understand in it's entirety, which is where parents come in. Kids don't have unending cash flows unless parents give it to them.

    Pet Peeve #2. I just say thank you. Teachers are special people, to teach is the best profession there is, because the pay is not coming in the form of monetary value. You have to truly love kids to be an effective teacher. And I loved english, it's where I found my creative self.

    I laughted out loud at your pet peeve 3. Don't care about money which is why you never have any. But I bet you are much happier too. It's stressful worrying about money and finances all the time.

    My pet peeves, slow drivers, fast drivers, texting while driving, people who smack while eating and selfish people who always want something, but can't be bothered to give in return.

  3. @ Viv. News of bargains is always welcome! I like to emphasise how much a like cheapo bargains even more enthusiastically in the face of people who only buy "names" at extortionate prices!

    @ Lena. I become peeved at everything as soon as I'm behind the wheel. I think I might be an angry driver :P So other people are probably peeved at me being peeved at them! He he.

  4. Phew, I got sucked into reading the accompanying articles with pet peeve #1, gotta say, it seems like Ms. Gurdon came across as living in an idealised bubble of life gentler viewing than Last of the Summer Wine.

    Loved the comment on money! It annoys me when you see the type of people who'll look at a piece of art and see only a price tag rather than just an expression of the artist.

    My other pet peeves probably include people who don't get subtlety on ANY level, and then make it awkward when you have to explain exactly what you mean, usually embarrassing to the assembled company. Another is the weird superiority imposed by people particularly between boys. Examples such as You read!? You should be out playing sport or other MANLY activities. Finally, my other, probably the WORST peeve is hypocrisy. For instance when it's only ever me that's claimed to be taking too long in the bathroom...

    Anyway, (wow that got me quite riled) Hope I haven't ranted too long!

  5. @ ZK - "Ms. Gurdon came across as living in an idealised bubble of life gentler viewing than Last of the Summer Wine." = LMAO!

  6. HAHAHA thank you! I love pet peeve #3 I have a friend who will run through each thing shes bought recently then sit and complain about not having any money (best thing about it is shes just been to Rome for a long weekend yet has no money! ergh!)

  7. @Raimy - Lol. A few people seem to have one of "those" friends! If I started to charge extortionate amounts of money for having to listen to money-talk, I think people might pay me just for a further opportunity to flash their cash!

    ...*seriously ponders this idea*...


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