Bang! Right Across The Face

Bang! Right Across The Face

Often, while reading young adult fiction, I wish I could reach into the book and just SLAP the narrator/main character.

Sometimes this isn’t directed at the character so much as the author, who is badly portraying teenagers and pretending to be cool, that he/she knows what they might sound like, act like.  But the SLAP I’m talking about isn’t in those instances.  This is a SLAP because I CARE.

I want to yell:

“Where are your condoms!  Just go buy condoms!  You don’t have to be 18 to buy condoms, dummy!”

“Stop being friends with that bitch!”  
“Just tell your mother the truth, already!”
“He totally likes you, just talk to him and you’ll see!”
“Nothing good can come of your obsessing over this!”

This kind of SLAP is a good sign, I think.  That I’m invested, that I’m concerned, that I’m frustrated that this fake person isn’t seeing the whole picture, or isn’t being all he/she could be.  

Today, while finishing up Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep (go read it, it’s good), I wanted to take our girl hero Lee by the shoulders and shake her and scream, “Don’t ask questions that you don’t want answers for!”

And then I wanted to cry, because Lee’s heart was breaking and she was totally clueless and inert about all relationships, not just secret sexual hooking-up ones, and what the hell did she know?

I never want to go back to that adolescent time when I didn’t know any of the crap I know now.  So treacherous.  And so much better to remember the time when everything was a first, or new, or uncertain.  I like uncertainty sometimes.   I mean, it’s romantic, to imagine going back, armed with all my know-how, but I don’t regret all of my dumb high school moves, because, how else was I going to learn how to be the amazingly cool brilliant genius person I am currently?  

*pause to let sarcasm sink in*

But I don’t mind going back with these fake people in books, to the point where I’m sitting alone in my living room this morning, petting my dog and reading a book and wanting to SLAP someone who doesn’t exist and getting such a demented, perverse thrill out of the fact that this type of activity exists and this is why it’s all about books for me and why I can never do anything worthwhile in life besides think about books and words and writing.

I have so many other things I should be doing right now.

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