Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Growing up is hard to do

by Stephanie

The other day, Jim and I were engaging in some friendly conversation about pop culture of the 90s, but when I drew a blank on a reference, his disgust was tangible: “My God. How young are you?” In truth, Jim’s frankness led me to consider my own place in the wonderfully unnerving process of growing up in all its forms. Whatever “growing up” even means.

So while I faced the reality of my own Generation Y status, I took some solace in reading this piece on the Book Bench blog, in which Macy Halford gives her take on the literary interpretation of the emerging adult. In it, Halford offers seven novels that provide a unique window to the dramas and pitfalls that accompany the young adult, particularly the twenty-something. Being a member of this crowd, I enjoyed perusing this list of titles—my personal favorites being A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and The Emperor’s Children. I’m drawn to the idea that there repeatedly exists in literary form a character who seeks to resist the expectations of society, and instead chooses to define one’s path by his or her rules.

Can you think of other books that fit this description? Are there certain books that particularly spoke to you as you entered young adulthood?

8 comments:

  1. Yeah... but what was the pop culture reference?

    ;)

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  2. Ditto what Bryan said. What did you draw a blank on? =P

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  3. I forgot that Screech's girlfriend, Violet, on Saved By The Bell was played by Tori Spelling. But Jim's obsessed with her, so I was fighting a losing battle with that one.

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  4. Don't feel bad- I am offically old, I was definitely around during the 90's and I have no knowledge or interest in anything Saved By The Bell save that Mario Lopez has gone on to have an interesting and varied career and the kid that his buddy is now on some cop show or other. Or was, I don't know.

    Suddenly I find myself wondering what Duran Duran is up to these days...

    ~bru

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  5. Who in the heck is Tori Spelling, or Saved by the Bell, or Mario Lopez??? The last time I looked I was watching Dobie Gilles, and Tuesday Weld was the "it girl"! Who remembers that???!!!!

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  6. How odd. Perhaps those books would have good lessons (or at least provoke interesting thoughts) in today's emerging adults, but I'm 26 and very few people I know who are my age would be interested in any of those books, save for maybe A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Michael Chabon's book--and it's not a matter of them not being readers either. Then again, I think the crowd I hang around tends to be a little more into speculative fiction, although there are a few who have strong literary preferences.

    Vonnegut's books spoke very strongly to me as I entered my twenties, particularly SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE. And since I was more into manga then, the first several books of NANA did as well.

    If it makes you feel better, I don't remember Saved by the Bell well enough to have remembered that, either.

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  7. I watched too much TV growing up, I'm chock full of pop culture knowledge.

    I remember being very moved by Joan Didion's The White Album when I was in my early 20's - that whole idea of just "living" really appealed to me, and I liked how honest the book seemed (although I must admit, I can't really remember anything about it now).

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  8. Poe spoke to me when I was ten, but ah, never more.

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