Thursday, April 26, 2012

YA Classics

This week (for class) I'm reading some YA Classics. Although I've read all three before, it has been awhile and I thought I could use some review. Each of these are great, thought provoking books that have a lesson in them. See my original thoughts posted below and I'll update with more current ideas as I get them finished. What are your favorite YA Classics? 

Go Ask Alice
by Anoymous

Thoughts before Reading - I read this in the 7th grade and I scared me. I never even considered doing drugs or anything that was put in front of me because anything could be a gateway to something worse. Alice's life was a disaster and this was definitely a warning. Now I don't believe that this was actually written by a girl named Alice (how did she sum up the story at the end?) and Snoops has some interesting thoughts on that as well. I look forward to re-reading this and seeing what I liked about it before. It was definitely one of the books that I can say shaped my life.

Thoughts Now: Wow. That is pretty much what I have to say here. The story is honest, almost too honest, and pretty frightening, especially the end. However the tone of "this is a warning" is a little too heavy handed. Pairing this with the fact that everyone knows this book was not written by a teenage girl in the 1970's, means that this is a book based in a lie and I do not believe teens today can relate to it.

My ideas of the story itself is that it is dated and the narrator is pretty out of touch. The book is also pretty heavy with swearing, drug use (obviously), sex, and the emotions are out of control. Knowing more about drugs and how they work (after what feels like a lifetime of Psychology Classes), I don't feel like I can believe that this is a first hand account most of the time. I used to recommend this book, but after this re-read I don't think I will anymore.

The Giver
by Lois Lowry

Thoughts Before Reading: I can still picture that apple scene in my mind when he sees color for the first time. I had never read anything like this before (probably where my love for dystopia lit comes from now) and I read this book so fast my mom thought I had just skimmed it. This is one of the few books I totally remember every part of, it was so awesome and terrible to me. I can't wait to re-read it and gather up some of that magic again!!

Thoughts Now: There is still something magical about about that apple moment! This time my focus was on the idea that knowledge was not shared with the masses. It reminded me of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and how the selected "elders" hold all of the knowledge and no one thinks to ask. 

In addition I think that the story focuses on the question of what happens to us when we die or when we get so old we are no longer useful. The story is pretty political in that way and reminds me of a Hitler type society where the old, disabled, etc. are removed from the masses. This seems to dehumanize them, even if the general public doesn't know it is going on, and soon they stop seeing in color. This would make an excellent English project if anyone needs one!

The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank

Thoughts before reading - I won't lie, this wasn't my favorite book. I think I read it in the 9th grade and I couldn't believe how honest this little Jewish girl was about her sexuality. I also don't understand how all of that "flirtation" with the boy went on right under her parent's noses (literally, weren't they in like 250 square feet?). Instead of the horror of WWII, Hitler and all of the terrible things that happened to Anne, all I remember was her being a little too flirtatious. Hopefully this re-read will help me see why this book is such a great one!

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