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Yiddish for Pirates
Gary Barwin
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George Eliot
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Philip Larkin, Anthony Thwaite
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Jacques Ranciere

YA fiction for Adults

Zits: Chillax - Jerry Scott, Jim Borgman

I can't now remember why I decided to read this book, but I suspect it was because it's a combination of regular prose and cartoon panels--a sort of quasi graphic novel, then, but with the cartoon elements interspersed with a lot of just plain prose. This is a kind of fictional storytelling I can't quite get my mind around: why tell parts on the story in words and images and the rest just in words? And is there a difference in the effect of the differently presented sections, then?

 

Anyway, in order to read this, I had to know more about Zits, the daily comic strip which these authors produce and which features the same cast of characters. So I read a collection of Zits strips: Triple Shot Double Pump No Whip Zits. I found it sometimes clever and often amusing, but incredibly repetitive: based on a very limited range of jokes and clichés about teenagers and repeating those same jokes and clichés forever. Maybe it's better when you just get one a day?

 

After reading the strip, I then read this novel, which more or less just repeats the same old jokes and clichés in the context of a somewhat longer story arc.  But what became most apparent as I read the novel was how very much the target audience for all this is adults, not actual teens like the main character. That becomes apparent mainly because readers are again and again being asked to know more and better than this ingenuous self-involved teen, and to laugh at all the ways in which he represents typical cliched teenhood. Confirming all sorts of easy and obvious stereotypes about teens doesn't necessarily close the book to an audience of teens, but inviting a kind of laughter that basically implies that all teens are silly and impossible and aren't adults ever so much sane and wise?  That's not likely to appeal to teen readers. I hope. I hope not because the attitude being expressed is a sort of complacency: Golly, aren't teens ever so silly inevitably and always, and so thoughtless, and so incapable of being anything else.  There's a kind of love for all this inadequacy and irresponsibility mixed in with the feeling superior to it, a kind of supposed dismay about teenagers that translates into a sense that being a clueless teenager is way better than having the responsibilities and worries of adulthood. As if. Anyway, i found it all very annoying. Not recommended. Maybe I'm too young for it?