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One last time on “Darkness Too Visible”

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Photo by Carlosinho

The Wall Street Journal posted a video interview to follow-up on the reaction to Meghan Cox Gurdon’s article, “Darkness Too Visible”.  Maybe it’s just me, but the interview came across as a damage control effort.  They didn’t even include Ms. Gurdon in the interview.

NPR, on the other hand,  posted the audio and transcript of Michel Martin’s interview with Ms. Gurdon,  Patricia McCormick (Cut, Purple Heart), Candace Mack (a librarian), and Christopher John Farley.  Mr. Farley wrote a rebuttal  for the Wall Street Journal to Ms. Gurdon’s article entitled “Should Young Adult Books Explore Difficult Issues?” (His answer was “yes” with parental guidance.)

NPR entitled the interview “The Dangers, Values of Dark Teen Lit”, but there was not much actual discussion of the possible dangers of dark teen literature. Clearly, Ms. Martin hoped to generate different responses than she received, but I was pleased to hear Mr. Farley’s remarks:

“…Well, I think one important thing to keep in mind when you have young children that are reading books is, now, I often read along with them. And I’m reading the books, too. So if they have questions about what’s going on in the books, they can consult me. They can talk to me…”

No matter how the news media defends (or fails to question) the potential downside of the darker subject matter in YA fiction, the truth is that parents, especially parents of younger teens and pre-teens,  must be proactive in monitoring the materials their children are reading.

“Young Adult” means what?  17 or 18 years old?  You might think so…

“Young Adult” means what?  17 or 18 years old?  You might think so, but YA titles are on the shelves in middle schools around the country.  Librarians try to place engaging, appropriate titles in their collections, but they can’t read all of the titles, and let’s face it, if current budget trends continue, librarians are an endangered species in our schools.  There simply are not enough of these professionals to go around; individual librarians can’t read every title; and the views of librarians (and critics) may not line up with those of parents.

Don’t start screaming about censorship.  I’m talking about plain common sense; facts and truth are not too much to ask. I’m not advocating a rating system for fiction, even though our society rates movies, games, and even music.  Let’s discuss facts, and parents can make up their own minds about the materials they buy or borrow for their children.

What does “Young Adult” mean to you?  Please post your comments.

Previous Posts – YA Accused, and Another Take    Send article as PDF   
About the Author

Kathrese McKee started life as a Systems Engineer at EDS, spent time in real estate, taught middle grade Reading and ESL in Texas, and settled down to blog and write speculative fiction for Young Adults.

As a teacher, she fell in love with books written for Teens and Young Adults. Her favorite books are “coming of age” stories about young people on the difficult road of self-discovery.


  1. […] One Last Time on ‘Darkness Too Visible’ (07/12/2011) […]

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