This is how it begins:
"The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter. The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads."
He then proceeds to mock both the YA books themselves and the adult readers who enjoy them. His diatribe offends me on so many levels, I'm not sure where to begin.
It's bad enough that those of us who love genre fiction already feel like the poor stepchild of literature. Now YA literature is ground into the dirt.
I'm a 48 year old. I read YA literature. I write YA literature. I also read classics, literary fiction, mysteries, SF&F, thrillers, and poetry. Mr. Stein seems to believe that YA writing must needs be simplistic and one-dimensional. As if all writing for 'adults' is automatically better than that written for children and teens. I vehemently disagree. Mr. Stein feels that YA books don't (or can't) challenge one's thinking. I vehemently disagree.
"Let’s have the decency to let tween girls have their own little world of vampires and child wizards and games you play when hungry."
As if there is nothing in YA books that can or should appeal to the adult reader. Let me tell you what a YA story can do. It can remind us of a time when we struggled to find personal power and agency. It can help us find our way back to the passion and fire of first experiences; an antidote to the cynicism that pervades all our media. It can rekindle hope and optimism in the face of great obstacles. It can provide a touchstone for our relationships with the teens in our lives. And it can be powerfully good entertainment.
Rather than continue to promulgate such a false dichotomy between YA and adult books, between genre fiction and literary fiction, between popular and classics, why can't we agree to judge each story on its own merits? A good book is a good book.
In the end, I feel sorry for Mr. Stein, for he seems to have lost his way in the morass of adulthood and confused maturity with condescension. Truly, it is his loss.