March 28, 2013 · 12:51 am
Shot through the heart…
(Also published on Feminspire doot doot look at me go)
Over the years that would fit into the Young Adult section of the bookshelf of my life, I received most of my drama from my platonic relationships. Friendships blooming, crashing, tearing themselves apart from within and being hacked to pieces by outside forces formed the basis of the emotional plot of my pre-teen and adolescent years, much more so, in any case, than the stories created by crushes and romantic entanglements. I have little doubt that this is true for a lot of people, too—which is why I find it strange that so many stories aimed at the YA market choose to completely avoid friendship as a source material.
Most books have a romantic element, this much is true—the addition of a love story intertwined with (or shoehorned into) whatever other plot that is going on adds a more human and emotional element to the story, giving the readers more opportunity to empathise with the characters at hand and add the wonder of how their relationship is going to end up to their emotional hook to the story.
Now, this is all well and good on its own, but there seems to be a recurring trend where these love stories are the only relationship-based plotlines for the main characters. Which is odd. How many people can say that their boyfriend or girlfriend is the only major relationship in their life? What about their families, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters? There’s plenty of room for growth and plot there. And most prominently, what about their friends? Continue reading →
February 14, 2013 · 12:49 am
The girl everyone wants to be… for some silly reason
Happy Western holiday of cartoon hearts, everybody!
And what day better than Valentines to talk about the world’s obsession with love, right? Those who take the meaning assigned by floral companies to February 14th will be spending the evening either dining with a loved one or sitting at home resenting the fact that someone out there is doing the former. It would be a good night, in fact, to get a bit tipsy and whip out the faithful DVD of Romeo and Juliet (though you really don’t need a special occasion to sob over Leo DiCaprio’s precious face), crying into the cat and wondering when you will possibly find your own Romeo.
Aaaaaaand at that point I admit I lose a little bit of respect for you, because in delving into that playscript and longing for a story like it for yourself, you have completely missed the point of the entire thing. I also advise you to stop minding about Valentine’s Day so much and to like, go hang out with your friends and family or something, because quite frankly it’s a dumb occasion, but that’s another story.
Romeo and Juliet would have to be one of the most famous love stories in Western, in fact probably all, literature. If you mention those two names, even on their own, doubtless the people around you will know who they are and their association: undying, heart-breaking, world-shattering love.
They defied their family rules for each other, they fought against the misunderstanding world that sought so stubbornly to drive them apart, and died for each other as well, unable to bear living in a world apart.
Let me pause here to say that R&J is one of my favourite of Shakespeare’s plays, and the Baz Luhrman film is one of my favourite movies. It is an excellent story, it has bitter greed and revenge and snarky banter and sword fights and questions about what makes us do the things we do. But it is not a good love story. Continue reading →
November 1, 2012 · 3:00 am
No, the title is NOT a sly, shippy Madoka reference
Can’t we just let characters enjoy their relationship without having to have it be The Greatest Love in the Universe?
People are obsessed with the concept of True Love. It’s a hangover from the reign of fairy tales, I suppose, where that was the basis and endgame of all things (well, in the less horrifying more modern versions, anyway). But, like all hangovers, it’s starting to stink up the place and give fiction a bit of a stale air.
I’m mostly talking about teen fiction, which has taken to promoting the idea that young love is RIGHT AND TRUE AND DEFIES ALL ODDS and is sweet when done well, but when not handled gracefully plunges the characters and their romance into Special Snowflake territory.
Special Snowflake (n): someone who believes, or is expressed to be by their author or creator, even more unique than every other infinitely unique human being on the planet, much like a snowflake in a blizzard wherein every flake has a distinctive shape, but still shouts that they are the most distinctive as they whirl towards earth and annoy the rest of their frozen-water buddies.
Continue reading →