I remember when I could be sliced to the core by the words, "Grow up." Delivered with an offhand, disdainful superiority that only a teenager can perfectly master, it was a phrase from my past. But not anymore.
After reading the NYT opinion piece on how adults should read adult books, the phrase jumped into my mind as clearly as if the author Joel Stein was sneering it over his shoulder in the high school cafeteria. Grow up. And I heard it like the wake-up call it was. Yes, it is time to grow up.
It's time to give up children's books. And I'm doing it.
Seriously, I'm not even sure what I've been doing all this time with apparently three thousand years of adult literature just waiting for me. Kidlit and YA can't give me the adult things that an adult needs in reading. For instance, sometimes there aren't enough big words. You know, like pretentious. And while there might be some sex in teen books, it's always played down and rarely described with "throbbing" or the naughty words for our... parts. Okay, so maybe that's not the literary argument, but it is adult.
How is it I've been straying from the subtle shades of literature that only an adult book can employ? I remember this book where the empty chairs in the room so clearly stood for the existential loneliness that lies at the core of each one of us, and yet that isn't revealed in the brightness of day but only in darkness. Though come to think of it, that may be from Goodnight, Moon.
Really the point is in the type of book that can lead us to discover our existential loneliness. Or even that can make us want to use the word existential in a write-up. Oh, and the ennui! How I have missed the ennui. Certainly we can all admit that a teen's struggle to define himself along the expectations of society, parents, and peers all while trying to tune in to his own ever-shifting internal compass is trivial when compared to that sad, bored woman who eats, prays and loves.
So I'm making a pledge with a few others, that as an adult I'll only be reading adult books starting today, April Fools Day.