A 7-Year Old Child And A 21-Year Old College Student Reviewing Classic Teen Literature – The Westing Game, A Wrinkle in Time, & Something Wicked This Way

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Reviewing Classic Teen Literature – The Westing Game, A Wrinkle in Time, & Something Wicked This Way

Traditionally, young people ignite topics such as forging their own identities and building self-acceptance. Lately, however, we’ve seen a marked increase in themes about abandoning your family to become undead, changing your personality beyond recognition, and feeding on human blood to nourish the fetus your husband eventually has to bite out of your belly. Uterus. (No, we’re not making this up). For those of us nostalgic for the good old days, when reading teen literature would make you feel better about life (instead of needing a long shower), reading some of the classics below might be a good investment.

While Ray Bradbury can unsettle us in countless ways, his 1962 adult novel Something Wicked This Way Comes actually conveys at its core information that is beneficial to health. Beneath all the carnival and fairgrounds, this is it. The story follows two 13-year-old boys named Will and Jim who visit a traveling circus and become involved with a wicked witch, a magical carousel and a man with hands tattooed on their faces. people. (Obviously, this predates camera phones.)

For whatever reason, Jim is drawn to all things dangerous, creepy, or both, and desperately wants to ride the merry-go-round that will instantly transform him into an adult, as in Big Same as Tom Hanks. Will, on the other hand, is enjoying life at thirteen and has absolutely no desire to pursue adulthood in unnatural ways. (Apparently, this predates VH1.) With the help of Will’s father, the two learn how to kill evil with a smile — literally — and laugh in the face of insecurity, even if that face is your own. Only Ray Bradbury could do something like this while scaring you to death.

Published the same year, Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a similar offbeat novel that reads like an acid flashback by David Bowie . Our teenage heroine is Meg Murray, a self-proclaimed self-loathing freak whose face has been horribly disfigured by — get it — braces. (OK, so 1962 standards are different.) Also of note, she travels to a planet called Camazotz with the help of four exploding stars and a time/space folding program called a tesserract. Yes, we’ve all been there.

Through her travels, Meg learns to let go of everyone’s help (literally, she’s actually glued to things), see her “flaws” as things that could “come in handy,” and end up on her own Flying to solve her own problems. The story climaxes with Meg defeating a large, pulsating brain through the power of love. If that’s not tokenism… well, we actually kind of wish the whole thing was tokenism.

Sixteen years later, Ellen Raskin published The Westing Game, challenging the prevailing notion that young people were incapable of comprehending a story of immense complexity. (Obviously, the publisher wasn’t familiar with Tolkien.) Its heroine is Tabitha-Ruth Alice “Turtle” Wexler, a 13-year-old girl trapped in the shadow of her pretty sister Big honor for the moniker of the reptile. Turtle and her family are embroiled in an elaborate inheritance mystery that pits entire apartment complexes against each other for a $200 million booty.

Amidst the endless stream of characters, sudden bombings, anonymous tip-offs, and false leads, Turtle demonstrates business acumen, kindness, and independent thinking; The sword falls, and the puzzle is solved, even though the game ends and the prize is withdrawn. By befriending and impressing benefactors, Turtle continues to prove that you don’t have to be young and pretty to get an old man’s multi-million dollar inheritance.

Growing up was hard enough without TV and magazines telling kids to hurry up and buy adult stuff. Granted, literature is as subject to market trends as anything else, but until books start selling advertising space between chapters, we want to think of them as a refuge for the soul. If novels about black magic carnivals, interstellar time warps, and pyrotechnic treasure hunts can somehow present balanced young adult characters, any story that doesn’t is certainly not trying hard enough.

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