Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thinkings on the "John Green Thing"

Hello Lovelies!

First, let me start by saying that I love John Green. He definitely falls into my favorite author category, and he's fantastic person. He is definitely 100% not at fault for the things that other people write and/or say about him. He frequently represents himself much better than he's given credit for.

So I'm not really talking about John Green when I'm talking about the "John Green Thing". Instead, I'm talking about the plethora of articles that have come out with the release of The Fault in Our Stars (both originally as a book and then most recently as a film) which advocate John Green as a savior of young adult fiction and the best thing since sliced bread.

I was thinking about that this morning because of the tweets which Maureen Johnson released. Maureen Johnson is a pro tweeter and also a fantastic young adult author. She frequently tweets about the inherent misogyny in the young adult world--things that we're so used to that we hardly even notice.

And it got me thinking because she mentioned that critics cling to Twilight which most people agree is maybe not the most sane example of a relationship but y'know what, it would have never even blipped if so many people hadn't liked it in the first place. There are going to be "bad" books that do well. Most of the time, they'll do well because they are relateable in some way.  But we can't keep clinging to so-called "bad" books which do well.

You know what else has done well, historically? Awesome books written by women.In fact, the majority of young adult dystopian or fantasy novels which have done well in the recent past have been written by women. Let me list a few for you here: First of all, the major one, Harry Potter (written by J.K. Rowling who was told by her agent that she should go by her initals because young boys wouldn't want to read a book written by a woman). Then there's The Hunger Games (written by Suzanne Collins) and Divergent (written by Veronica Roth).

It is disheartening to see critics focus on the male writers in a predominantly female writer genre. But I believe it's a side effect of the old "boy books" versus "girl books" debate. It's okay for people to enjoy a story about love from a girl's point of view (a typical plot for girl books) if it's written by a man.

Maureen Johnson suggests imagining all TFIOS articles as if TFIOS was written by a woman. I'd like to try the default of imaging all books are written by a woman. I kind of like that view point too. In a separate but related note, I've also been trying really hard to refer to all authors in the same manner. I've noticed people are more likely to use the first name of a female author than the first name of a male author: i.e. Tolkien's writings are great, good old J.K has released another title.

So what do you think lovelies? If you've made it this far, drop me a comment on what you think about the whole ordeal.

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