They don’t make ’em like Huckleberry Finn anymore.
The kids and I finished a new read-aloud last night. We really like Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain and went looking for something similar. We wanted a straight up survival/adventure story without the complicating “coming-of-age stuff” which, being interpreted, generally means early and unpleasant sex. We settled on Ms. George’s Julie of the Wolves thinking it would follow the same general structure of MSotM.
Well, NO. Julie of the Wolves deals with attempted rape, child marriage, alcoholism, spousal abuse, menstruation. Nothing wrong with writing about those things, but not what we expected and not what we were looking for. I got the feeling that Ms. George was trying to write something “real” a la Judy Blume and fell short. I was never much of a fan of those sad and disappointing books foisted on me in my childhood and adolescence anyway.
It’s not that I think authors should only repeat the same old story again and again because it’s what their readers expect, but I also don’t see why I should pay to read an author’s writing exercises. Besides, well-written adventure stories are a more rare and exceptional thing than this angsty crap.
I’m guessing the unsettled ending might have been intended to get readers to buy and read the sequels but nah. Not happening.