Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Reaffirming my love of YA fiction

*WARNING* What I'm going to write next may well shock some, appal others and totally out myself as some literary heathen.

You may have seen my post unveiling my Summer 2012 TBR list below, in which I included a couple of Classics.  I've been reading mostly YA and children's fiction for a while, but thought I should vary the pile, and cover some Classics that I'd never read.

This morning I finally - FINALLY- finished Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Lordy, what a labour. Actually labour doesn't quite cover it. Just getting to the end of it felt like all the burdens that Tess had to endure.
It was so miserable and longwinded.  There. I've said it. Out loud and in Cyberspace. I hated it. 
I did finish it, as I am generally a fair person, and gave it every chance to redeem itself, hoping for a last ditch rally in the final straight, but no. Miserable down to the very last line.
Feel free to file as many comments as you like, showing me the error of my ways -in fact please do and show me what I am missing, as honestly I simply do not get the hype.

I knew it was a tragedy before I started. It warned me in the blurb on the back, and it did indeed do exactly what it said on the tin; It was tragic. And it isn't just that I love a happy ending. I'll admit that I do, but I can accept them when they are not - Hunger Games being a point in hand, where the ending is hardly roses, given how broken Katniss is left. But this was just one misery after the other without any respite. 

But in reading Tess o. t. D'U, I recognised one of the things that is most important to me in YA fiction, namely the pace.  Tess o. t. D'U was so slow, plodding about in parts of Wessex that I imagine today's editors would gut out of a manuscript quicker than Tess could untie a corn sheaf. YA fiction knows it has to court and keep an flighty attention span and in many cases the excitement of  the pace itself can be relentlessly breathtaking. The running scenes in Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking series, anyone? 

To rebalance my reading energies, I have thrown myself into Dash & Lily's Book of Dares having enjoyed Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and only ten pages in, I am back in love with reading. Hurrah!

And while I am already at it- offending many and letting myself down- now would probably be a good time to go for broke and disclose that Moby Dick was a hellish experience too, right...?

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